Maikel Zijlaard is coming back home! After a two-year stint in USA’s Hagens Berman Axeon, the talented Dutchman is back to home soil ready to keep on developing himself as a bike rider. With cycling being part of his family for a long time, the 20-year old looks back to his early days in the sport.

How and when did you start cycling?
I started cycling when I was a young boy as cycling has been always connected to my family. It was easy to grow into the sport and I fell in love with it really quick and really hard, and that’s something that has not changed throughout the years!

Which were the clubs/teams you were part of before joining the Academy?
When I was younger I started in a club team named RWC Ahoy, which is nearby my home and that’s how I made my first steps into the sport. I remained as part of the club until my second year as U19 and I continued my cycling journey at Hagens Berman Axeon for the next two years.

What are the most valuable lessons that you have learned from those days?
Cycling has helped me a lot to grow not only as a bike rider but also as a person. For example, being part of an American-based team for the past two seasons has been something that really helped me to step up and progress further in many aspects. I hope that I can show myself in the coming years, and fight hard race in race out while wearing the Academy colors.