Following the final and oldest Classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège our Better Know an Argyle turns to Thomas Dekker who says ‘La Doyenne’ is his favorite race of the year — to race or even just to watch!
What is the first memory you have involving a bicycle?
I remember when I was really young, like three years old, I was going for the first time on my bike to my grandparents with my family. It was like a 10km ride and that was the first time I remember on a bike.
Pretty young but in Holland everybody goes on the bike — there are more bikes than people in Holland. It’s normal for everyone to be riding a bike.
What is your favorite race and why?
My favorite race is Liege. it’s also because I am the type of rider who can go strong over there because it’s pretty hilly. I still remember when I was young watching the race with my father on television. It is also my favorite to watch it on television when I am not racing it. I always hope that I am racing it though!
What career do you think you would have pursued if you were not a pro cyclist?
It’s always difficult to say because I was already deciding when I was young that I wanted to be a bike rider. I signed my first contract when I was 16 so then you are not watching what you can do in university — I finished school when I was 18 and in Holland you decide what kind of university you are going to do. But I was never thinking about that.
I have a lot of interests. When I was really young I always wanted to be a teacher. But when you get older you see more things in the world so I have no clear idea of what I would have done.
Is there an unusual or little-known fact about you?
I think everyone already knows about me because Dutch television followed me for one-and-a-half years, everywhere I went! Everybody knows what my interests are off the bike from that.
In the beginning it was pretty strange but in the end you don’t see them anymore. They had 150 hours of video and you forget they are there. At the start you want to look the best for them but you cannot be an actor for that long. It was good because it was a really honest documentary.
What do you like to do for fun away from the bike?
Because we are always away it is nice to just meet with friends and go out to dinner. It’s also nice to be home with friends — enjoy the normal things that people who come home from work everyday enjoy. It’s the small things, the simple things — even just to go to the supermarket — after 200 days on the road. I don’t need bungee jumping or extreme stuff, just normal things with family and friends.
After being on the road what do you like to do when you come home?
Normally I am pretty tired so I go to bed! But the day after I love to read the newspapers and a nice coffee from your own coffee machine. Just meet some friends and have a coffee for 30 minutes.
More photos of Thomas Dekker: