• Dutchwoman Marianne Vos has won the first women's version of the Tour de France. (AAP) (GodingImages)Source: GodingImages
Cycling royalty visited The Discussion, presented by BikeBug, this week. Arguably behind just Eddie Merckx as the best all-round cyclist of all time, Marianne Vos took some time out with Matthew Keeno Keenan to shoot the breeze.
By
Cycling Central

11 Nov 2016 - 1:03 PM  UPDATED 11 Nov 2016 - 1:14 PM

The Discussion presented by BikeBug, came to us live last night from the Ferguson Falls Winery and Cafe where Vos is riding the Tour of Margaret River. 

Keeno's introduction of Vos aptly summed it up. "Not just one of of the greats of cycling but of world sport."

The 29-year-old has an impressive palmares but said she doesn't spend much time looking back. 

"I'm more looking forward to the next races and trying to prepare well for what's coming up next instead of what happened in the past but of course it's great and I feel grateful for what I've been able to achieve.

"And when i hear the palmares behind each other, the world titles, the Olympic titles, I always get a smile on my face as well."

For a multi-discipline and multi-surface rider who's won 12 world titles (seven in cyclocross, three on the road, and two on the track) plus two Olympic gold medals, it wasn't difficult to foresee her answer when asked if she'd love to race a women's Paris-Roubaix. 

With a big grin she replied "yeah, yeah, I would love to race, yeah yeah!"

"We have a lot of the great spring classics, but a great addition would be Paris-Roubaix with the cobbles and I know a lot of riders in our bunch who'd love it."

In her 10-year professional elite career, Vos has seen it all. 

"When I came into the senior ranks the gap was a lot bigger than it is actually now so I've seen it grow, I've seen the teams get better structures, I've seen more riders being able to do it full time."

And while Vos has appreciated the opportunities La Course has provided on the biggest stage, the Champs-Elysees and in 2017, on the Col d'Izoard; and one day she would like a women's Tour de France, Vos said the women's calendar is exciting in itself.  

"We have great races on the calendar already like the Giro d'Italia which runs at the same time as the Tour de France so there is some issues to solve in the calendar to get more balance. 

"We race Fleche Wallone, Tour of Flanders, Strade Bianche and next year Amstel Gold and Liege-Bastogne-Liege...Tour of California, and the Tour of Britain."

Keenan asked Vos to expand a little on what she told a cyclocross magazine during her recovery from fatigue about her low self-esteem outside of bike racing. 

"For me cycling was always the way to find myself. I really felt comfortable on the bike than off the bike. For me it was really important to perform because I'm a perfectionist and you wanna do really well in what you're doing," she said last night. 

"But when I got over-trained my identity as a cyclist didn't count anymore. Maybe the results from the past, but for me that didn't count too much so I had to find myself and that was really interesting but also a learning lesson."

"I've been on the bike since I was six so it gets a daily routine then probably results get too important in your life."

The Dutch superstar said her fifth, second place in a row at the road world championships was probably her most "crushing defeat."

"I got World Champion in 2006 on the road which was quite a surprise because I was young I was first year elite and I wasn't really a favourite. 

But after it, five years in a row I got second. And the fifth one (2011 Copenhagen) was really really frustrating and of course the winner was just better and timed her sprint really really well. I wasn't angry at the others, I was angry at myself for getting second.

"And of course the team was doing all the work for me to get me in the best position and I was in a perfect position but I couldn't finish it off. That was the point where I said to myself "next year it's going to change” and 2012 it changed."

While she may almost be the perfect rider, it looks like Vos could never be a Sky Bot. Read the following exchange between her and Keeno:

Keeno: (Fan) wants to know what your FTP is and we need your body weight to give us some relevance.
Vos: He wants to know and I have no idea.
Keeno: Really?
Vos: No.
Keeno: Do you train much to watts?
Vos: Yeah we do. I train to watts.

"But the FTP doesn't matter because you also have to keep up with the others and you have to go above your FTP to make a difference rather than staying on the FTP."

This is just a summary, it's well worth the watch: