The women’s peloton has always been a good place to me. And since I retired, my former teammates – or rivals – are still people I love to be around. Establishing my own brand has been a huge challenge over the past 1,5 years and I’m grateful there are many people that I’ve met during my cycling career that are there to help me whenever I need them. One of them is Esra Tromp. You probably know her from my pictures! So, time for an introduction by Esra herself: 

“Esra Tromp, 27 years old and living my life in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.

As a 16-year old me and my sister became fascinated by the sport of cycling. Sport has always been important in my family. My mother used to race herself. When my sister and I started riding it was in her old woolen clothes. This definitely led to a few laughs from the group or riders we joined on the road! From 2008 until last year I raced in the women’s peloton. (And the woolen clothes changed quickly to some more comfortable lycra). 

In these years on the bike I have enjoyed living the cyclist life a lot. Spending many hours with super cool people and with the most beautiful surroundings. I’ve learned a lot from all the experiences you get from racing, training, going to new places and meeting new people. This is also how I met Iris, both suffering and/or laughing during races.

After a hard crash in Omloop het Nieuwsblad in 2017 I had to deal with a concussion. What is really well known about cyclists is the drive to keep going on no matter what, and I was no exception. Although I didn’t feel 100% I kept racing until April 2017, where my last race was the Amstel Gold Race. Something was wrong, and with constant major headaches and feeling overly fatigued I had to stop for a while. That was when I found out I had not only a concussion, but also glandular fever.
My season was finished. After spending months in bed and on the sofa I had to make a decision. Want do I want? I made the decision to stop racing and to focus on new adventures.

The last few months of 2017 were pretty exiting already. I started a new chapter in my life, as a manager of the UCI women’s team; Parkhotel Valkenburg. With my experience as a rider and with my degree in Business Science I got the opportunity to direct my own cycling team. I was extra excited because of what the team means in women’s cycling; Team Parkhotel Valkenburg is a team that focuses on the development of young riders.

I enjoyed my life and my new adventures a lot, combining the passion for women’s cycling with all the organizational tasks I have to do for managing the team. To be part of the cycling community and use my knowledge and experiences feels like something really special.

When Iris asked me to represent her new cycling apparel I felt honored. I’ve always loved fashion, dressing up and wearing beautiful clothes. For me this is as important in ‘normal life’ as well as riding my bicycle. Clothing is important to feel comfortable, confident and to fully enjoy what you do. IRIS is a new stylish brand with a unique look, that is perfect to express and show yourself. So, from now on, I Ride In Style!”