Fullering wants to inspire the girls on the tour: ‘Now we can compete for the yellow jersey’ right now

Demi Follering could not even dream of an overall victory in the Tour de France for a long time. On Sunday, the 25-year-old Dutch rider will start as one of the top candidates at the first women’s Tour de France since 2009. “I really expect the Tour to take women’s cycling to a different level.”

Vollering and boyfriend Jan de Voogd bought a Mercedes Sprinter last year with the goal of turning it into the perfect camper. They began to convert the truck themselves, but most of the time they needed help.

“We were mainly interested in the bicycle garage,” says Vollering in a conversation with NU.nl. “We wanted it in the back, and our bed above it. It was very hard to find a company that wanted to do this, but luckily we found one. The project isn’t quite finished yet, but the kitchen is up and running and we can use it to go out for the weekend.”

At the beginning of May, Vollering and De Voogd got into the converted wagon and drove for an hour and a half from Basel, Switzerland, where De Voogd lives and works, to Vosges to explore the final three stages of the Tour de France Femmes. Such a simple course makes an SD Worx rider much happier than winning a major race.

“Jan took me to a very neat hotel once. Then I told him I prefer camping with a tent. Fortunately, he thinks exactly the same. I’m very lucky because I enjoy myself so much. I love being in nature and I love cycling outside. I don’t need To many, that’s always been the case. I still enjoy every day when I ride my bike, even now that it’s my job.”

Demi Fullering in her motorhome with bike garage.

Demi Fullering in her motorhome with bike garage.

Demi Fullering in her motorhome with bike garage.

picture: Instagram / demivolving

It all starts with dreams

Whoever opens the Vollering website is the first to see the words “It all starts with a dream”. “This has been my life’s motto for a long time,” says the smiling Dutchman. “I’ve always been a dreamer.” “It all starts with a dream. And when you have a dream, you have to go after it.”

As a child, Fullering dreamed of becoming a professional cyclist, but that goal slowly disappeared when she was able to start working in several flower shops after training MBO in flower design. “My plan was to do my best to exercise for two years. Instead, I worked out about seven days a week.”

That changed when I met De Voogd – an amateur cyclist – and together they went to the Ardennes to ride bikes on the weekends. “I did his long endurance training on his leash there,” Vollering says. “The first time I passed just right, I almost cried and had to stop at every bakery because I was hungry. But the next day I recovered well and just got back on my bike.” You have real talent,” said Jean: You have to do something with that.

Vollering changed her cycling club, started working with a coach for the first time, quit her job and less than a year later – at the end of 2018 – she signed her first professional contract with Dutch team Parkhotel Valkenburg. “It was a very scary move to stop working. Suddenly I had absolutely no income and then you see how quickly your bank account deteriorates. But it’s all worth it.”

Fullering in her fourth professional year has already become one of the top riders in the women’s peloton. This season she has achieved six wins and fourteen top ten places. “I don’t think much about how fast my career will go. But I am so grateful for that. It’s my dream to be a successful cyclist. And I work hard every day for it.”

In May, Demi Follering explored La Super Planche des Belles Filles, the final ascent of the Women’s Tour de France.

In May, Demi Follering explored La Super Planche des Belles Filles, the final ascent of the Women's Tour de France.

In May, Demi Follering explored La Super Planche des Belles Filles, the final ascent of the Women’s Tour de France.

picture: SD Worx / Raymond Kirkhofs

Vollering noticed how massive the tour is all year round

When I told Fullering in recent years that she was a professional cyclist, the question always followed whether she had also ridden the Tour de France. She says, “Then I always had to answer ‘No.’” I said, ‘We have no course, a one-day race.’ Then most people dropped out, because they didn’t know that race.”

This season, women are allowed to ride the Tour de France for the first time since 2009. The Tour de France Femmes consists of eight stages and is organized by Tour organizer ASO, who hopes the women’s race will eventually earn the same status as the men’s race. “I feel a lot more serious now,” Fullering says. “Because everyone cares more when I say I’m going to the Tour, the biggest race out there is cycling.”

Over the past decade, major races such as the Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Amstel Gold Race have been added to the women’s calendar. The return of the Tour de France should have an even greater impact on the sport.

“I’ve really noticed the scale of the Tour this year, because in every interview it’s basically about that. It’s probably a little less interesting than the men, but I really expect the Tour to take the women’s cycling to a different level,” Fullering says.

“I hope many young girls will look and think: This is what I want later. I hope to inspire the next generation by showing that we can also compete for the yellow jersey, just like the guys. And I want to show that you work hard and have passion and dreaming big can go a long way.” .

Theatrical schedule Tour de France Femmes

  • July 24: Phase 1, Paris (82 kilometres)
  • July 25: Stage 2, Mo-Provence (135 km)
  • July 26: Stage 3, Reims-Épernay (133 kilometers)
  • July 27: Fourth stage, Troyes-Bar-sur-Aube (126 km)
  • July 28: Stage 5, Par Le Duc Saint-Des Vosges (175 km)
  • July 29: Stage 6, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges-Rosheim (128 km)
  • July 30: Stage 7, Celeste Le Markstein (127 km)
  • July 31: Stage 8, Lure-La Planche des Belles Filles (123 kilometers)

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