Holiday provider Corendon has renewed its commitment to the world of cycling by once again partnering with the Roodhooft brothers, Christoph and Philip. Making its team presentation on September 13th 2023, Corendon revealed that it would be the main sponsor for the newly-named Crelan-Corendon cyclo-cross team. The team known as Crelan last season also includes riders like Laurens Sweeck, Sanne Cant, Manon Bakker, Marion Norbert Riberolle, Toon Vandebosch and Emiel Verstrynge.
“It was not difficult to convince Corendon to join the team again,” said Philip Roodhooft, underlying the long-standing relationship that dates back to 2014. The new venture is notable for the presentation of Inge van der Heijden as the team’s new leader. Van der Heijden moved across from 777, another team overseen by the Roodhooft brothers.
Van der Heijden, who is keen on competing against the likes of young CX stars Puck Pieterse, Fem Van Empel and Shirin Van Anrooij, views the move as a new chapter in her cycling career. She believes her rigorous road season with Fenix-Deceuninck will pay dividends in her cyclocross performance. Earlier this year, Van der Heijden had the opportunity to participate in the Giro Donne, a significant milestone that she sees as invaluable to her future racing endeavours. “It would be great if it all paid off this winter,” she said, commenting on her experiences at the Giro Donne and the Tour of Scandinavia.
For Van der Heijden, the focus for the upcoming cyclo-cross season is clear: the World Cup is the pinnacle. She aims for consistency and would like to be among the top three female racers more frequently. As for her long-term career, Van der Heijden admits to being a methodical grower, in contrast to the rapid ascents of her rivals, sometimes referred to as ‘the Big Three’. She does not let this disparity dishearten her. “You often see that riders who suddenly rise to the top still can regress a bit or stagnate in their development,” she says.
In terms of training, she has switched from road cycling to cyclo-cross-specific routines. Van der Heijden believes her technique is solid, although she acknowledges there is always room for improvement. The new season beckons with promises and challenges, but Van der Heijden seems more than ready. “The start always goes very well, so hopefully that has not changed this year,” she noted, pointing to her strengths in explosive starts.