Interview | ‘Mom from the group’ Van den Broeck-Black was subjected to a doping article: ‘Something like this is very painful’

Chantal Black has been called Chantal van den Broeck-Black since 2019. About four years after her marriage to Lars, a small one also arrived for the couple. The Rotterdam appointment is scheduled to start in mid-May 2023. in the leader’s shirt In Antwerp, during the press day of her Team SD Worx, she spoke on various (difficult) topics with the eloquent rider.

It should come as no surprise that her pregnancy plays the most prominent role in the current life of 33-year-old Van den Broeck-Black, who indicated in February 2022 that wanting children in top sport is somewhat of a taboo. In light of pregnancy, speaking time, mid-January 2023, everything is going smoothly for the woman who won the 2017 World Cycling Championships in Bergen (Norway). “It’s tough, but it’s going well. But I think, compared to other stories, I can squeeze my hands in. Of course I’m exhausted. I know that feeling of being so tired after a hard race. It’s a little bit similar.

“But with me, I was just nauseous at first. I can do everything else now. I’m still actually a cycle. Lately I’ve been riding with girls from the team a bit and it’s been going really well. But other weeks I’m pretty much off and I can’t Do anything. My belly is growing big, but I can still ride a bike,’ continues the delightful Van den Broek-Blaak. I also do strength training, swimming and yoga. Not that I can ride a bike for long. If only I could add some swimming sessions Or yoga, I just take good care of my body.I especially notice that such things are very beneficial for your pelvis.

Van den Broek-Blaak will continue as a professional cyclist until at least the end of 2024

In the current women’s peloton, there are few pregnant women. So Van den Broek-Blaak has no colleagues to ask for specific advice. However, the winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019, despite the fact that things are a little different in terms of sponsorship than she has been used to for years, is mainly enjoying herself. “It’s so funny how it all happened. From the moment you’re pregnant, you’re in regular care straight away. After that no exceptions will be made for the top athletes. So you don’t really get treated differently. I’ve been used throughout my career to the fact that if there is Something in the medical field, you get priority. As a cyclist, you also receive special treatments, for example. But now you only belong to the ‘path of normal people.’ So that’s a bit of a change. But of course it’s very nice.

It is difficult for the Dutch, who excel in one-day competitions, to appreciate how she will pick up her rhythm in competition from May. “At the moment I just want to stay as fit as possible. I can’t say I’m really into training. I might be fitter than the average person, but everything has to work out. I myself have to stay healthy and of course the baby too.” “These are my first major goals. When I give birth in May and start again in the summer, I’ll see how it goes. My goal is to get back into the team in December anyway. If it goes well anyway. Then I’ll have time to recover in the summer.” Same, that’s how I see it now.

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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019: Blaak solos for the win

In May 2020, Van den Broek-Blaak announced that she would retire at the end of 2022. Therefore, as it turned out later, she reversed this decision. “I really changed my choice once in that area, yeah,” says the ever-smiling Van den Broeck-Black. “Of course I had stopped last May. But, as I also explained at the time, my husband’s fatigue played a major role. And that desire to have children of course. We are fortunate that the pregnancy also came through very quickly. That is very nice. I really enjoy cycling and doing On the bike as long as it lasts and I’m enjoying it.That’s the main thing.

She further explains: “I still have a contract with the team until the end of 2024. And then I’ll see how it goes by then. Maybe by then, when I’m a mother, I’ll say I can’t take it at all. Who knows what happens. But I’ll try.” Really back, and in 2024 I really want to start racing seriously. If it goes well, I might stick with it for a year. If not, I might say it was nice. That’s the perk of my situation. Because I don’t have to prove anything anymore .

Following her career, Van den Broek-Blaak aspires to become a mental coach

Van den Broek-Blaak particularly appeals to the mental side of cycling. Therefore, she believes that this element is not given enough attention. “I think it still has to grow, but it’s definitely improved in recent years. It’s taken care of and a lot more than when I was young, for example. In my generation it was very different. I myself am a racer who really believes in the mental side. I do too A lot in my head. In my opinion, I owe my greatest victories to my mental strength. This topic also interests me a lot. I am now very involved in the team and try to help the young girls within SD Worx as much as possible in the field, for example by advising on how best to deal with setbacks.

The winner of the Gent-Wevelgem Prize in 2016 wouldn’t be surprised if she started working as a sports psychologist or mental coach after her career. I think the topic is still a bit taboo at the moment. Can talk about it a little more. I would also like to work on that in the near future. Of course I said for a while that I wanted to be a team captain and that the mental side of cycling is the part that particularly appeals to me.

Van den Broek-Black, still galloping here, with her signature smile.
Van den Broek-Black, still galloping here, with her signature smile.

When asked, Van den Broek-Blaak agrees that the mental aspect of cycling will play an increasingly important role in men’s and women’s cycling. It is a topic that you are increasingly interested in today. Anyway, I really like it. Especially now that I can’t actively race myself. I especially hope to teach little girls something and confirm that everyone really is different.

Where Marianne Voss notes in another interview that she would not take the mentor role literally (in light of the transition from Fem van Empel to Jumbo-Visma), Van den Broek-Blaak emphatically does. ‘I think that works for me.’ It’s really fun to do. You really got that part already. I went to a team building camp in America. At the time I couldn’t do much as a rider and certainly wasn’t racing. Then they told the girls that they could see me as the group’s mom. They don’t call him a coach or mentor, but more of a person someone can turn to if there is a problem. I must say that this happened quite regularly. So I think that’s a good thing. When people have problems with something, I try to help them mentally.

Van den Broek-Blaak steroids article hit

2022 was one of the least productive years of Van den Broeck-Black’s career filled with countless victories. So she looks back on the past year with displeasure. “I think I didn’t really have a good year last year, at least on a personal level. I’m still a winner, so I just want to win a big game at least once a year. But that didn’t work out in 2022. The spring was particularly disappointing. For me. But looking at my form at the time, I was really good. Then I have to bring the positivity out of that. The second half of the season I had a lot of bad luck. I fell a few times and had many injuries. So that was my first reaction Is that I thought it was a disappointing year. If you look at the team, I was often an important link in a big win. So the team is still happy with me,” she jokes.

However, the former world champion likes to add some nuance to her first assessment for the 2022 calendar year. I also set the record straight after the season and did good assessment interviews. After that, I looked at things really differently and my season wasn’t that bad after all. I came third in the Tour of Flanders. I had a really good race there. If I had won it, I might have told you my season was a success. That’s just how it works.

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Tour of Flanders 2022: Van den Broeck-Black finished third and could therefore join the podium with winner Lotte Kopecky and runner-up Anemek van Vleuten
Tour of Flanders 2022: Van den Broeck-Black finished third and could therefore join the podium with winner Lotte Kopecky and runner-up Anemek van Vleuten

Sometimes it’s hard for music lovers to choose between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. For cyclists, it is difficult to choose between the Tour of Flanders or the Tour of Paris-Roubaix. However, the latter does not apply to Van den Broek-Blaak. Tour of Flanders Until now My favorite course. The combination of the track and his way of living in Belgium is great. Two years ago I also won the Strade Bianche and I have to say that was really nice. This is also at the top of the list. I often hear people say that Paris-Roubaix was made for me. But I can’t really say this match is one of my favourites. I’ve ridden it twice now and also finished in the top 10 twice. But in principle I should be able to compete for podiums there with my qualities. So I haven’t succeeded yet. This is why I like the Tour of Flanders better,” she says with a wink.

Last December, AD reported that Van den Broeck-Black had been “busted” for doping in 2008, after the Student World Cup. The 19-year-old jockey was not suspended and, according to various sources in the paper, should have been. Even for someone who considers themselves mentally strong, such a message comes as a blow. However, Van den Broek-Blaak quickly turned the switch. Of course something like that hits you. It’s hard to say how I figured that out. It affects you anyway, so it’s hard to say it doesn’t affect me. But I can switch very well and get over it. I don’t get attached to it. Now if you asked me for an answer and wanted to talk about it, I would say it’s a closed book and it’s over for me anyway. But I certainly wouldn’t say it didn’t affect me. It hurts a lot of course when something like that happens, but I think I can get by better than a normal rider, ”concludes the fast driver.

Yuri van den Berg

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