A stalwart of the team, Nils has been with Team DSM since 2017 – starting off with the Development program before making the step up to the WorldTour with the Men’s program in 2020; going on to complete two Tours de France so far.
Cycling wasn’t Nils first main sport and he originally trained for judo but when he eventually quit that, he had to find something else to do. His dad and granddad were always watching cycling on the TV, particularly the Tour de France, so Nils thought he would give that a try. For one year he also trained for triathlon but didn’t like running or swimming so in the end it was “an easy choice”.
“For me, success is keeping the fun in training and trying to become better every day, while the individual and team wins are also important too in the longer term.”
An outgoing and talkative guy, Nils would class himself as an “eager”, “fun” and “competitive” person. The first two he says go hand in hand, as for at races he asks a lot not only of himself but his teammates and everyone around him. He is also a fiercely competitive character, not only in cycling but in whatever he does as Nils “likes to win.” As for being “fun” one thing Nils dislikes is having a “quiet” and “boring” group around him, as he likes to relax and keep the spirits high with some laughing and joking around or playing some interesting rap music on the bus. He does admit though that it can’t be laughing and joking all the time and he has a switch where he can go into “serious mode”.
Reflecting on his career as a rider so far, his second place at the Dutch National Championships was Nils’ personal best day on the bike. Although a second place might be a bittersweet result for some, he was proud of how he rode and says that it was a really tough day of racing where he could “push himself to the absolute limit” and get the maximum out of himself.
Yet, Nils in his open nature admits that since then he has struggled a bit to find his way in the peloton due to a series of unfortunate crashes and illnesses in the past two seasons.
“I felt super confident and strong in the moment and immediately after, but it’s something that fades over time but when you really think about it then it is something that isn’t gone; I just need to not have bad luck and it will come.”
Away from the bike Nils is a keen gamer and can often be found on the Playstation playing a variety of games, although his favourite genre would have to be shooters, with Fortnite holding a special place in his heart. Half-jokingly, Nils suggests that the gaming helps him as a rider as the “communication, ability to stay calm and a good reaction time” all carry across into cycling. If he’s not doing that, then he just enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends, and relaxing.