Following her remarkable victory in the Gavere World Cup, Puck Pieterse is poised to increase her presence in road cycling in 2024, as revealed by Philip Roodhoft, manager of the Fenix-Deceuninck team. Despite her limited road racing experience, with just two professional appearances in 2023, Pieterse’s impressive fifth-place finish at the 2023 Strade Bianche demonstrated her potential. This result, only surpassed by renowned road cyclists Demi Vollering, Lotte Kopecky, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, and Annemiek van Vleuten, highlighted Pieterse’s capabilities on the road.
Roodhoft confirmed that Pieterse would again compete in Strade Bianche next season, signalling a planned expansion of her road programme. However, he stressed the importance of balancing her road commitments with preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, where she is set to compete in the cross-country mountain biking event. The intention is not to disrupt her Olympic preparation, with an eye on long-term development.
Last season, Pieterse ventured into road racing as a discovery, enjoying the experience without the pressure of high expectations due to her lack of road racing background. Now, with more experience and reference points, there is anticipation for her to participate in more races than the previous year.
Pieterse’s versatility and success across disciplines have been evident. In her first elite mountain bike season, she made history as the first Dutch woman to win the overall cross-country title at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. She also achieved podium finishes in both XCO and XCC, and her performances at the World Championships in Scotland further cemented her potential for future victories.
Pieterse’s talent in multi-discipline cycling aligns with the successes of other prominent figures like Marianne Vos and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. Her cyclocross competitors, Shirin van Anrooij and Fem van Empel, have already made their mark in WorldTour level road racing, suggesting a similar trajectory for Pieterse. With her contract with Fenix-Deceuninck extended until 2027, Pieterse remains a key figure in the team’s future, especially considering the team’s recent step up to the Women’s WorldTour in 2023.