Becoming the current U23 Dutch National Road Race champion was the icing in the cake for David Dekker, who started his cycling journey back in 2005 at just seven years of age. The Dutch Rider talks us through his early days in the sport, as well as what are the most valuable lessons that he has learned in what has been almost a lifetime in the cycling world.

How and when did you start cycling?
I started riding a race bike when I was 7 years old in 2005. I only was allowed to compete in a special category that would race in-between official races by the KNWU. In 2006, when I was old enough to ride official races, I started immediately and I instantly fell in love with it.

Which were the clubs/teams you were part of before joining the Academy?
When I started cycling in 2005 I became a member of WV De Jonge Renner, one of the most famous cycling clubs in the Netherlands. When I joined the U17 category in 2013, I moved to WV Willebrord Wil Vooruit for which I raced during both the U17 and U19 years. Then, when I became a first-year U23, I joined my old team WV De Jonge Renner again of which I am still a member and will always be. But after one year I joined the Metec-TKH Continental Cycling Team until now and I am very proud I have been part of that team the past two years. Now I am ready for a new chapter that is the SEG Racing Academy. I am very excited to get going and see how far can I go as a rider, and how good the 2020 team can get.

What are the most valuable lessons that you have learned from those days?
The most important lesson I have learned in the past few years is that fun is the most important part of cycling. It is only possible to perform and become the cyclist you want to be if you enjoy what you are doing. Because if you don’t enjoy training, and everything that comes around it you won’t stick around that long. Another important lesson that I have learned is that everything you do has to come from within yourself and not because other people are pushing you. You don’t need to do anything to please others, only because you want to do it and think it is best for you. Otherwise, just as the fun factor, you won’t hold on that long.