Wheels turn full circle for Max van Heeswijk
Max van Heeswijk, who started his pro career with Motorola, found his career turn full circle today when, after a six year absence, he rejoined former teammates Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie with the US Postal team.
Following a great career as an amateur rider, in which amongst others he won four stages of the Pacific Power Commonwealth Bank Classic, Max van Heeswijk signed professionally for the Motorola team in 1995. Joining teammates such as Lance Armstrong, Bobby Julich, George Hincapie and Kevin Livingston. He had a marvellous two seasons with the Motorola boys, winning 10 races and establishing himself as a hard man in the peloton with an effective sprint when required.
As Paul Sherwin wrote in the 1995 Motorola report of the Commonwealth Bank Classic race:
”Max Van Heeswijk wrote his name into the history books of the race, becoming the first rider to win five stages in the event, having garnered four victories the previous season whilst still an amateur.“ - (Please see Motorola full report of this race at bottom of this article.)
Still, with the Motorola team folding in 1996, Max had another successful season including victories in the Tour of Holland and, once again, the Commonwealth Classic. In 1997, with the demise of the Motorola team, Max joined his home team Rabobank. Another two good seasons followed; he was part of the legendary breakaway in the Tour of Switzerland on Stage 3 (where he, Agnolutto and Valentino Fois put 11 minutes into the peloton), and he won the final stage of the Vuelta a Espana with a powerful sprint proving too strong for class acts Jan Svorada and Marcel Wust. In 1998 he once again proved invaluable in support of his team members and also took the first stage of the Ruta del Sol.
Established now as a hard working Domestique, with enough class to win events when the opportunity presented itself, Max signed a two year contract with the Mapei team.
Although now working hard for the bigger stars at Mapei, in 1999 he again scored success at the Commonwealth Classic (3 Stage wins) and another hard man sprint victory against Rudie Kemna and Pieter Vries in the Omnium Elsloo.
2000 saw him again in the thick of the action. He helped Johan Museeuw win the Paris Roubaix (while finishing 35th himself), won two stages of the GP Telekom (Portugal) and also secured his biggest victory to date with an impressive win in Paris Brussels.
Max outsprinted Frank Hoj (La Francaise des Jeux) and Ludovic Capelle (Charleroi) to win the Paris-Brussels and it was a victory which showed his abilty to take on team responsibilities when the situation was called for. Mapei had expected 1998 Paris-Brussels winner Stefano Zanini to win. Zanini lacked form, however, and Michele Bartoli and Paolo Bettini told van Heeswijk to ride for himself. They did some attacking to help him, and teammate Axel Merckx led van Heeswijk under the 1-km banner. Van Heeswijk then found Frank Hoj's wheel and passed the Dane to win.
Following this success Max has ridden for the last two seasons primarily as a super domestique for Johan Museeuw and the other big stars of Mapei and Domo. Once again he had an impressive Paris Roubaix, helping to set up (once again) Johan Museeuw’s victory but also finishing in an excellent 8th place himself.
It is interesting to note that the US Postal rosta now includes three men who finished in the top ten of the Paris Roubaix this year. Max Van Heeswijk has experience, the ability to ride the classics, can time trial (he finished third in the Dutch Nationals) and most importantly will fit into the US Postal team.
Here is an interview carried out by the excellent Cycling4Fans site - (Thanks to Inga and Tick - please visit the excellent http://www.cycling4fans.de/)
Full name: Max Van Heeswijk
Team: Domo-Farm Frites (Belgium)
Birthplace: Hoensbroek, Holland
Date of birth: 02-03-1973
Height: 1.80 meters
weight: 73 kilos
Questionnaire sent: Nov. 25, 2001
Answers received: Nov. 28, 2001
1. Your motto (professional and private)?
2. What is the best thing about being a professional cyclist, and what is the worst?
The worst thing about being a professional cyclist is that you are much less often at home that with a "normal" job. The best is that you get to
see the world, and it is simply a wonderful sport.
3. What do you plan to do after your cycling career?
I have trained to be an auto mechanic; who knows, maybe I 'll work in
this field in the future, but right now I just really don't know.
4. The sports director is a…?
especially important for moral support.
5. Fans are....?
It is important to know that there are people who believe in you -- a real encouragement!
6. What is the worst, craziest or most interesting experience you have
had with a fan?
I don't have any such experiences...
7. What is your favorite race, and why?
The Amstel Gold Race, because I live in the area.
8. What is your least favorite race, and why??
I don't like "Kermis" races; the same circuit over and over and over...
9. What is the most difficult climb?
Now. (This one.)
10. Which of your fellow cyclists do you most respect?
Max van Heeswijk
11. What is your stand on doping?
My motto is: Live healthily and stay healthy -- there is no place in that for doping.
12. Do you have a family? If so, how do they feel about your being a professional cyclist?
I am married and have two sons. It's not always easy for them and my wife, when father and husband is away so much, but they do pretty well without me.
13. How did you get started in cycling?
As a boy I rode Crosscountry. When I was 16 I changed to street racing.
14. Who are your role models?
Johann Museeuw and Lance Armstrong.
15. What do you do in your free time?
I don't have that much free time; when I do, I spend it with my family.
16. What are your best and worst characteristics?
best: spontaneous, good mood
worst: I'm too trusting
Blast from the Past
Motorola Report: Pacific Power Commonwealth Bank Classic (Oct 21-29, 1995)
The final race of the season for the Motorola Cycling Team was in the Australian event, the Pacific Power Commonwealth Bank Cycle classic
(PPCBCC) in late October. The race was a nine day event which was open to
fully professional teams for the first time in it's history.
Max Van Heeswijk wrote his name into the history books of the race,
becoming the first rider to win five stages in the event, having garnered
four victories the previous season whilst still an amateur. He went on the
win two more stages, increasing his tally to seven stage victories in two
He was backed up by team mate George Hincapie, who also scored a fine
win in the country's capitol of Canberra on the last day of the event,
after the young Dutchman's retirement due to a crash. In fact the Motorola
Cycling team were plagued with bad luck during the race after the midway
It began the day after Stephen Swart had taken the race lead in the
event after tenth stage. Swart was bridging to a small breakaway group when
he crashed on a descent. He injured his knee in the fall and after
remounting his bicycle was unable to stay with main pack. The New Zealander
lost more than eight minutes on the stage and all hopes of victory.
His team mate Van Heeswijk took over the race lead following Swart's
accident, but he too had been involved in a crash on the same day, injuring
his calf muscle. The young Dutchman was unable to start the following day
and had to relinquish the lead to Englishman Chris Lillywhite.
Bobby Julich, who up to this point had been riding in a supportive
role for Swart and Van Heeswijk, rose to the occasion and managed to take
third place in the overall standings after some superb attacking riding
over the last few days.
The team received extensive coverage in the Australian television and
press coverage of the event, which included a half hour nightly program.
The race which was supported by Motorola, Australia.
--Paul Sherwen reporting
MOTOROLA George Hincapie, Bobby Julich, Kevin Livingston
RIDERS: Stephen Swart, Max Van Heeswijk
DATE: October 30, 1995
EVENT: Pacific Power Commonwealth Bank Classic
LOCATION: Sydney, Canberra
DISTANCE: 1170 kilometers
1st Jeremy Hunt Caltex England 49'36"
2nd Declan Lonergan Pacific Power Ireland s.t.
3rd Max Van Heeswijk Motorola Holland @ 16"
1st Max Van Heeswijk Motorola Holland 3hr 00'25"
2nd Jan Koerts Websdale Holland s.t.
3rd Chris Lillywhite Caltex England s.t.
1st John Tanner Caltex England 42'16"
2nd Allan Iacoune Giant-AIS Australia @ 09"
3rd Ralf Grabsch Bosch Germany s.t.
Stage 5, 3.6 km tt:
1st John Tanner Caltex England 5'22"
2nd Jeremy Hunt Caltex England @ 03"
3rd Bobby Julich Motorola USA @ 06"
1st Max Van Heeswijk Motorola Holland 38'02"
2nd Mike Weissmann Bosch Germany s.t.
3rd John Den Braber Websdale Holland s.t.
1st Max Van Heeswijk Motorola Holland 38'02"
2nd Baden Burke Canberra Cas Australia s.t.
3rd John Den Braber Websdale Holland s.t.
Leader: Van Heeswijk
1st George Hincapie Motorola USA 2hr 42'40"
2nd Ric Reid Sanitarium New Zealand s.t.
3rd Mike Wiessemann Bosch Germnay s.t.
1st John Tanner Caltex England 28hr 47'54"
2nd Chris Lillywhite Caltex England s.t.
3rd Bobby Julich Motorola USA @ 44"
25th George Hincapie Motorola USA @ 48'09"
30th Kevin Livingston Motorola USA @ 54'42"
Photos thanks to Domo, Vuelta, L'Equipe.