Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak Gearing Up to Race Back into Action: Juggling Motherhood and Tour de France Dreams

Published 01/23/2024, 11:53 AM EST

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Former World Champion Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak is gearing up for an extraordinary comeback in the realm of professional cycling. After a year-long hiatus and enjoying the new responsibilities of motherhood, she is back in the saddle again with the SD Worx-Protime cycling team.

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As it seems, Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak is all ready to take on a dual role as both a professional cyclist and a mother. The 34-year-old cyclist announced her pregnancy at the team presentation in 2023. Let’s delve into how Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak is gearing up to embark on a quest to reclaim her former glory as she sets her sights on the coveted Tour de France Femmes.

Chantal’s bold return to the peloton after the motherhood break

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At the team presentation of SD Worx-Protime in Mechelen, Belgium, Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak was spotted with her teammates. Officially marking the end of her maternity leave, she is back on track. Although the peloton has been awaiting her return, with a year-long break in between and after embracing motherhood, she shared that it’s going to turn out quite challenging for her. In the team presentation, Chantal shared, “It’s really nice to be back. It feels like everything is still the same. I was one year out, and then you jump back into a group and it feels the same—but at the same time, everything has changed for me. So it’s a nice challenge.”

While the Dutch cyclist was contemplating retirement in 2022, fate took a turn, and the good news of her pregnancy made things fall into place. Her maternity leave policies aligned with her desire to embrace motherhood without sacrificing her cycling career. With time, priorities have changed for the athlete. Shedding light on how she has been managing her role as a ‘full-time mom’ and an athlete, she said, “I have different priorities now; it doesn’t mean I’m not focused on cycling because it’s still super important for me. But when you become a mom, there’s one thing more important: My life is just totally different now because I’m not only an athlete; I am also a full-time mom.”.

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The Tour de France Femme is about to kick off soon in the Netherlands. According to reports, it is going to begin in August. She stated, “It starts in Rotterdam; that’s where I come from, and that’s very special for me.” As the Grand Depart kicks off in Rotterdam, her hometown, Chantal brings a unique blend of experience and maternal wisdom to guide the team’s younger riders, all while pursuing her quest for cycling excellence.

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But after her maternity leave, the return does not seem easy for the athlete. Her main aim as of now is to get back to her previous zone. She shared, “I have goals, because otherwise, what am I doing here? But my biggest goal is to come back to my old level. I also need to be honest; I’m not there yet. And that still needs some time, but we’ll see how it’s going.” However, she is not ready to give up and is confident enough to meet her expectations step by step with unwavering commitment and hard work.

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Chantal’s return from maternity leave to the cycling limelight

In 2017, Chantal won the title of World Champion at the age of 28. In 2016, she won the Gent-Wevelgem and the Ronde van Drenthe. In 2018, she secured a win at the Amstel Gold Race. And in 2019, she grabbed the winning title at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. She did not see a stop and continued to add feathers to her hat. In 2020, she also won the Tour of Flanders.

Often, getting back to professional life after embracing motherhood turns out to be quite challenging. But Chantal stated how her little one is making it easier for her. “I must say we have a very easy baby. She’s pretty good, so we are lucky,” said Chantal.

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Van Den Broek-Blaak shared, “It’s getting better. I’m not there where I want to  be.”She started to get back to the training sessions with her teammates in December, and it turned out quite hard for her. But she shared that she was slowly putting up with the pace, and the last camp turned out to be better than before. Although she has not yet met her expectations and knows that it’s going to get harder, she believes in herself. She said, “I believe I can make it back.”.

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Written by:

Disita Sikdar

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Words have the power to inspire and unite, and I am dedicated to making that happen! As a passionate Viral Sports writer at EssentiallySports, my past experiences as a content creator and social media manager have only fueled my drive to bring the world of sports to life. My love affair with American sports finds its epicenter in WWE. Since childhood, I have been enthralled by the dazzling world of WWE, captivated by its awe-inspiring storylines that blur the lines between sports and theatre! My coverage brings out the electrifying excitement of WWE, the poetic beauty of Soccer, and the fierce battles on the Tennis court.
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Edited by:

Riya Singhal

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