Tijssen provides new source of inspiration for Team Jumbo-Visma Women
For over twenty years, Rutger Tijssen (48) has been working at the top of global speed skating. The native Amsterdammer, who was part of a team that won multiple Olympic and world championships, will take on a new challenge this summer. The coach will be the sportive director at Team Jumbo-Visma Women.
It's the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Tijssen. "I've always really enjoyed myself in the speed skating world. A few years back, I realised that my passions extended beyond skating. The opportunity that Team Jumbo-Visma is giving me is incredible. The team seems like a place where I can thrive and accomplish my goals."
Tijssen watched women's cycling with admiration in recent years. "I have witnessed the sport's remarkable development from the sidelines. There is a full-fledged competition programme nowadays. The Tour de France Femmes is a perfect example. Women's cycling's popularity is rapidly increasing. A professional approach from the teams is important. The squad approached me for the sports manager position. It allows team manager Esra Tromp and the current coaches to fully focus on their job."
"It seems fantastic to me to create a team of winners in the team's women's branch"
It is the start of a new chapter for the Amsterdam native. "I experienced beautiful moments", Tijssen refers to working with Ireen Wüst, Jutta Leerdam and Sven Kramer, among others. "But I was ready for a switch to a slightly different world. There are some parallels between the training for skating and cycling, but the culture is different. Of course I have no intention of changing the cycling culture at Team Jumbo-Visma. Every professional sports team shares some characteristics with other teams, but each has its unique identity."
While working with elite athletes, Tijssen has gained numerous insights and strategies. "The ability to make decisions is crucial in professional sports. In my opinion, a team or athlete should never pass up the chance to improve their performance by making some tough choices. I am always looking for improvements. That's crucial to succeed in this world. I always make sure I do things right. Otherwise, there's no point in doing it", Tijssen says.
"Eighty percent pertains to commitment. The other twenty percent accounts for the sport's basic culture. On the Team Jumbo-Visma women's team, I will hold the same position as Merijn Zeeman on the men's team. In that regard, I am quite ambitious. It seems fantastic to me to create a team of winners in the team's women's branch. I will be present at many races. I am already looking forward to it. I want to contribute to the team's success. We hope to win grand tours and remain competitive at the front in the classics. My greatest wish is to see the people around me experience personal growth. If they can develop themselves, I am overjoyed. The collective will always be more important than the individual in this organisation. With that in mind, we will be working very hard in the coming years to achieve our goals."
Esra Tromp, team manager of Team Jumbo-Visma Women, is pleased to have Tijssen on board. "The women's team will take another step next season. Partly for that reason, we went looking for an addition to the staff and looked beyond cycling. We quickly found Rutger. He has a lot of experience in the realm of professional sports and has been active in the field of women's sports for quite some time. We look forward to this collaboration and anticipate learning a lot from each other."
"This fits perfectly with the development our women's team is going through", Merijn Zeeman adds. "It's encouraging to see that Team Jumbo-Visma Women is progressing along with the sport's rapid development. With Rutger's arrival, we can sustain this growth. Rutger is a seasoned coach in the world of professional sports. He will add a lot of expertise to our women's team", says the sportive director of the Team Jumbo-Visma cycling teams.