Chantal van den Broek-Blaak rides Setmana Ciclista Valencia, her first race since her pregnancy

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak rides Setmana Ciclista Valencia, her first race since her pregnancy

"Returning half-and-half is not an option, my winner's mentality does not allow that"


In Setmana Valencia, Marlen Reusser, Mischa Bredewold, Niamh Fisher-Black, Christine Majerus and Elena Cecchini start their season. The Spanish stage race is also the very first race for Chantal van den Broek-Blaak. The 2017 world champion returns to competition nine months after the birth of her daughter Noa. "Top athlete or not, in a pregnancy your body determines the rhythm. I'm not at my old level yet, but I'm getting better. The passion for racing was still too great to stop. I am both a top athlete and a mother now and that feels good," Chantal van den Broek-Blaak said in a monologue about how she experienced her pregnancy and return.

Linked cyclists Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak Gekoppelde ploegleiders: Anna van der Breggen

Children's wish

"In 2022, I had initially decided to stop cycling, but I quickly realized that I wasn't done with cycling yet. I still loved the sport too much, but I also had a desire for children. Had you asked me this ten years ago, quitting would have been the only choice. But fortunately, a lot has changed and women's sports have evolved tremendously. There were plenty of examples to show that you can be a mother and an athlete. So we decided to give it a chance. If the combination didn't work out, I would have resigned myself to it. My career had already succeeded. Anything more is a very nice bonus."


"I had a fine pregnancy. But from the moment I was pregnant, I was no longer a top athlete. Priority number one was the baby in my belly. I was surprised that it came so quickly, but that just happens to you. Nature makes you want to protect your child. I always kept riding my bike, but soon training was no longer an option. It just didn't feel right. I did everything by feel. But of course I stayed fit and healthy and made sure I had my exercise every day. I also stayed involved with the team. I went along to the team-building camp in the United States while I was already pregnant. And I also attended during the December and January camp. The passion for the sport was not suddenly gone, of course."

Mom Chantal

"Your body needs time to get back into balance. On social media it looks like you fit back into your jeans after two weeks. But that's not the reality. That's why I have this message for every woman: every pregnancy is different. Listen to your body, it will tell you by itself what is possible and what is not."

"When Noa was born, I was really on a cloud. I was absorbed, as it were, by my greatest happiness. Noa was my complete world. Training was out of my mind for a while. But I also needed time to regain my physical and mental balance. In one blow your whole life changes. Yet in the background a little voice in my head kept saying: shouldn't this be done faster and better? Of course, the top sports mentality was not suddenly gone. Step by step I became more and more a top athlete again."

Top athlete Chantal

"All my entire career I have relied on the process. Also now. In December I joined my first training camp with the team since birth. I felt I was still behind. I then decided to spend two months in Spain with the family to create extra rest for myself and find a balance. Because in fact you are combining two full-time jobs. Every week things got better and now I can finally say again that I am a top athlete again as well as I’m a mother."

"I still have that same passion for cycling. I am a team player on the one hand, but I also remain a winner's type. I knew very well that I didn't want to return just to ride my bike for a few more years. That performance drive & fierceness is in my nature. I don't have to prove myself to anyone anymore, but I always want to achieve the maximum in everything I do. When will I be satisfied with my comeback? At least when I reach my old level again. No matter what the results are then. I want to be a card in the game again and be of value to Team SD Worx-Protime and transfer my experience. The next step is to start racing in the peloton again. And Setmana Valenciana is the ideal course for that. I'm looking forward to pinning a back number on again after a year and a half."

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