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The Traksel Files: A Youngster's Portrait
By Anita van Crey
Date: 6/26/2002
The Traksel Files: A Youngster's Portrait
Still only twenty years old he has experienced all of procycling. He knows winning, he knows losing. Being the youngest Dutch professional racer in history, Bobbie Traksel of the Rabobank team is one rider to follow into the next years. And so we will do, with regular updates in these Traksel Files. A portrait to start with. 

Like the team booklet of 2001 says about this born and raised in Tiel, The Netherlands, rider: “Not everyone in the Rabobank team can claim to have won the Tour de Flanders. Bobbie Traksel did so last year (in 1999), with the amateurs. He enjoyed too the success in the fourth stage of the Tour de Loire-et-Cher, the PWZ Zuidenveld Tour and the Noordenveld-Westerkwartier. A mere nineteen years of age, Bobbie is really the "baby" of the professional team, though his presence comes as no surprise to the cycling world, following his lightning carreer with the juniors and neo-amateurs. In the past year he was quite literally launched into his first race, unhindered by this name of fame in the pack with amateur and procylists.”

The plan was to let Traksel adjust in a gentle pace to the pro ranks. That all did fall apart, when Bobbie tumbled down in March in the Fayt-le-Franc race in Belgium in 2001. He broke ten ribs, which made his season subsequently dominated by his efforts to catch up. Both team leaders Theo de Rooy and Adri van Houwelingen have no doubts he will succeed in doing so after experiencing Traksel’s determination over the past year.


On his own website ( Traksel puts down his experiences at a racing day in words. About his first win as a professional in the Dutch semiclassic Veenendaal-Veenendaal in 2002 he tells: "I focused on this race. Together with amongst others Bart Voskamp (of the other Dutch team Bankgiroloterij, acr.) I rode the route several times, but already knew all the details. Up front I exactly knew where to attack. Everything just went as I had dreamt of. Only such good legs as today, I would not have dared to dream about that...

All the time I noticed myself riding much ‘too’ crazy. At every climb I rode up front with the bests. At approximately 50 k. before the finishline I was the first on the summit of the Paardenveld-climb in Rhenen. I was afraid to do not well here, so I wanted to be there amongst the first. I raced in my own pace and at the top we had formed a 4 racer breakaway group. McEwen was in this quartet. I had three teammates in the pursuing group, so I had nothing to fear and nothing to force, but I kept on doing my work in the leading group.

After 35 kilometres the riders from the following group joined us in the front. 10 k. from the finish the bunch came close to 25 seconds. We as Rabobankriders rode head over head, later on helped by the Bankgiroloterij ones. With about 2 kilometers to go Bram Schmitz (Bankgiro, acr.) tried to jump. Again we as Raboriders had to make sure he did not get away. Withing the last kilometre teammate Karsten Kroon shouted, "GO BOBBIE." I started sprinting, stormed through the last straight corner at 300 metres from the end and just went on. I really was tired and wanted just to sit down on the saddle, saw McEwens front wheel on my left, restarted and excelerated. At that moment, Robbie later told me, he sort of collapsed. I won, it looked easy, with one bike length ahead of Bart Voskamp, who also beat McEwen."

Back at the showers, Bobbie Traksel still jumped from joy about his win. At the victory ceremony on the podium he did not seem to realise what he just had accomplised. Later on he told the the present journalists he in races looked up to riders as McEwen. “They have accomplished so much, they are so good, as I ride aside them I sort of am afraid to fall down and have them down on the asphalt too. My father keeps on telling me I am as good as they. Now I have only to believe that myself..."

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Not that long after his major win in Veenendaal, Bobbie again was called for the podium. This time on the 5th of May, to complete an all Dutch one-three at Rund um den Flughafen Köln-Bonn in Germany. From his site: “Last week I trained in Limburg (the hillier part of the Netherlands, acr.) and went straight on to Köln. I felt I had some real power in my legs. Had to jump and jump with every breakaway in the first 80 k. of the race so they told me. That meant I had to race up front in the peloton all the time and had to react on every change and raise of pace. Doing that I won 2 bonus sprints and collected this way that much point I won the total sprint classification (a jersey and some nice money for the team). Near the end a breakaway-group with amongst others my teammates Coen (Boerman, acr.) Roy (Sentjens, acr.) and Marcel (Duijn, acr.) escaped. That gave me the opportunity to save myself and hide in the bunch. Gerolsteiner closed the gap, with 5 kilometres to go we formed an orange-blue train. At 600 metres I took over from Karsten (Kroon, acr.), with Steven (de Jongh, red.) following me as my shadow. I went full speed to the last corner, racing carefully on the very wet and slippery ground. After the corner I went full speed again and at 100 metres before the line Steven passed me by. I looked over my shoulder and did only see Stefan van Dijk (Lotto) and a gap behind him. I was not able to keep up with his tempo, but was good enough to finish third.”

Upcoming Sunday June 30th. Bobbie Traksel will be one of the main contenders in the Dutch national championships. In days to come we will keep pace with his developments.

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