Maikel Zijlaard joined the Academy ahead of the 2020 and at the moment, he is getting ready to start his second season in our outfit. The 21-year old is ready to make 2021 count after a roller-coaster of a year with some of his targeted goals getting cancelled. “I look back at the season satisfied, and even though it was a strange season due to the virus and all the restrictions surrounding it the team and everyone involved made the best out of the situation possible by creating virtual races and meetings for example. And maybe personally I wasn’t the best at the virtual scene but it still triggered me to maintain form and try to perform well every race” points out Zijlaard.
However, Zijlaard could shine in some parts of the season like the indiviual national pursuit title that he achieved in January or a solid performance in the U23 Dutch Road Race nationals, that saw him taking a hard-fought eighth place. “I think for me it was a year to adapt to the increased training hours and it was the plan to ride as many races as possible and to grow in races as well. That plan changed when everything shut down so I made the plan with the Performance Staff which I was really happy about. I think that based on the training guidance that I have had lately I made progress compared to last season”.
The multi-talented Dutch rider is ready for the challenge as he will enter his last season in the U23 category. The goal is clear and the work is there to achieve his goals. “First of all I am looking forward to seeing everyone from the team, it has been a while so it will be great when we meet up again and get the season started. It would be great for the morale to be able to start the racing season with a boost by racing well and obtaining a good result. And then as well to maintain that form onto the next couple of races and show myself”.