Mirre Knaven joins EF Education-Cannondale

Mirre-Knaven

Mirre Knaven has moved to EF Education-Cannondale from AIG Insurance-NXTG U23. The Dutch rider will debut with her new team at the Thüringen Ladies Tour.

“EF Pro Cycling has always been my dream team, so I wanted to get here as soon as possible,” Mirre said. “My first race with the team is coming quickly but I’m super excited. I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone, the riders and directors and staff. I think it will be a really good atmosphere at Thüringen. Mostly, I just want to help the team as much as I can.”

EF Education-Cannondale general manager, Esra Tromp, shared her enthusiasm about the young rider’s arrival.

“Mirre is a really young athlete; there is so much potential in her,” Esra said. “She is determined to develop herself every day and wants to grow into a really strong classics rider. For us, it was a great opportunity to add her to the programme right away. This gives us a little bit more time to get to know Mirre and to give her the support at this young age so she can grow.”

Mirre, aged nineteen, is in her second season of professional racing. This year she celebrated her first career win on stage two of Gracia Orlová in Czechia, outkicking the field in a bunch sprint. She also secured the points competition and was named the best young rider at the race. In the following month, Mirre clinched both the final stage at Tour de Feminin and the Queen of the Mountains jersey.

The young Dutch rider describes herself as a classics-style rider. “I’m not a climber but I can go over hills. I’m not a sprinter but I have a decent sprint. I hope to develop into a proper classics rider.”

Esra Tromp recognised Mirre’s potential and her approach to racing. “I am really impressed by the way Mirre is racing. She has a strong sprint, but also races with heart and dares to race aggressively, something that fits our DNA. But not only by the way she is racing, she has a positive and upbeat personality, is highly focused, and has a great learning mindset!”

Mirre’s athletic roots run deep, with her father, Servais Knaven, being the 2001 Paris-Roubaix winner, and her mother, Natascha den Ouden, a three-time cyclocross Dutch national champion. Initially, Mirre and her three sisters practised gymnastics, but eventually, they transitioned to cycling following their eldest sister’s lead. They started on the road, then moved to cyclocross and mountain biking.

“We all quit mountain biking because we were too scared at one point,” Mirre admitted. “I still enjoy cyclocross but I do less and less of it every year. It takes a lot of energy for just one race and I’d rather be training in Spain in the winter!”

Outside of cycling, Mirre is working towards a degree in digital design and has a passion for music. “I like to play piano, I play guitar, and I play the drums,” she said. “If I weren’t a cyclist, I think I would pursue music professionally. I started playing drums when I was nine and then when Covid started, I began playing the piano and I taught myself a bit. I actually like the piano the most. About two years ago, I also started playing guitar.”

Reflecting on her progress in cycling, Mirre said, “Last year, I made a really big step mentally in learning how to not give up. And with my win at Gracia Orlová this year, I made another step. I was scared before the stage but I did it and I took the win. That gave me a real boost and makes me excited to see what else I can do.”

Main photo credit: Josef Vaishar

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