Monday, December 6, 2021
HomeInterviewsLaurens Ten Dam - "The Tour is the best"

Laurens Ten Dam – “The Tour is the best”


He’s one of the men to thank/blame for the current plethora of facial hair in the pro peloton; add to that a dazzling array of pained expressions and you have one of the most photographed professionals around – Dutchman, Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin).

The 33 year-old from Zuidwolde in Groningen has been on the scene for a long time but it’s only in the last few years he’s emerged as a man whose name is mentioned in connection with the GC of Grand Tours.

Laurens Ten Dam
Laurens cruises in the bunch on the Tour’s Stage One last Saturday in Yorkshire. Photo©Martin Williamson

He was eighth in the 2011 Vuelta and performed very strongly for the first two weeks of last year’s Tour de France.

His first stage race result of note came back in 1999 when he was third in the U23 Fleche du Sud in Luxembourg; an important race for the talent spotters with the likes of Alex Zulle, Andy Schleck and Bradley Wiggins on the role of honour.

He joined Rabobank Continental in 2001 with a best of third overall in the 2002 U23 Tranalsace stage race and top ten places in early season Croatian races as his best in 2003.

Staying in The Netherlands he joined Bankgiroloterji for season 2004 with a best of fourth in a Ster Elektrotoer (now ZLM Tour) stage.

In 2005, with Shimano-Memory Corp the results started to come, third on GC in the Ster Elektrotoer, fourth in the Tour of Belgium and eighth in the Tour of Luxembourg.

He joined the ill fated Unibet team for 2006 taking fifth overall in Dunkerque and seventh overall in the Route Adelie.

Laurens Ten Dam
Laurens heads towards the summit of the Bola del Mondo at the Vuelta a couple of years ago. Photo©Ed Hood

Top ten placings on GC in the Tours of Catalonia and Germany whilst still with Unibet were his best rides of 2007.

The 2008 season saw him join the team he’s still with; albeit through various incarnations – Rabobank/  Blanco / Belkin and which now faces an uncertain future.

That season saw him ride the first of his five Tours de France, take a stage in the Criterium International and finish in the top ten in the Suisse Tour.

In 2009 he won the mountains prize in the Tour of Romandie, rode the Tour de France again as well as the Giro.

In 2010 his Grand Tour ride was in the Vuelta; with 2011 seeing him ride strongly in the Tour Down Under – fifth, Tour of California – sixth and Tour of Switzerland – eighth as well as riding his third Tour de France.

In 2012 he rode le Tour again and took a Grand Tour career best with eighth in the Vuelta.

Last year saw him strong in stage races again with third in Haut Var, eighth in Norway and well in contention in the Tour de France until the final week when he dropped to 13th overall.

He also rode the Vuelta, last season – a tough call after a hard Tour de France.

This year he’s been 24th in Romandie, eighth in California and 13th in Suisse as part of his build up to the Tour.

Despite the fact that he was busy getting ready for the flight to England, Laurens took time to speak to Velo Veritas about his thought on his sixth Tour de France.

Laurens Ten Dam
Laurens Ten Dam was frothing but fast today, finishing two and a half minutes back from Martin and is now sixth overall. Photo©Laurent Rebours/AP

How many Grand Tours will this be – and which one do you like best, Laurens?

“This will be my sixth Tour de France plus I’ve done two Vueltas and one Giro.

“The Tour is the best.

“The Vuelta is chilled and the Giro is mostly bad weather.

“I rode in Italy once, in 2009 and was really lucky as we only had half an hour of rain during the entire race; and my team captain Denis Menchov (Rabobank & Russia) won that year.”

You changed your pre-Tour programme, this year – why?

“We decided it would be beneficial to fit in an altitude period of training this year, before the Tour.”

Do you think Suisse has worked better for you than the Dauphine?

“It’s hard to say, I’m not sure yet.

“I guess we’ll see soon . . .”

Laurens Ten Dam
Laurens climbs to Bola Del Mondo. Photo©Martin Williamson

When and how do you set your programme?

“Usually every December with my coach and the team.

“We’ve done things slightly differently this year with my race schedule.”

Have you been to look at the Yorkshire Tour stages – Kittel says they’re very dangerous?

“No but I’ve done the Tour of Britain twice in 2006 and then in 2009 so hopefully that experience will come in handy.”

Do you like the Tour parcours for this year?

“Yes, I do; the Vosges stages are nice and there are also five uphill finishes which I like.”

Which will be the key stages?

“First the cobbles on stage 5 from Ypres to Arenburg; the three stages, 8, 9 and 10 in Vosges; as always the Alps on stages 13 and 14 and Pyrenees in the last week will be key.”

What will you miss most about ‘Dutch Corner’ on L’Alpe d’Huez?

“It is very nice but a bit too busy – all the yelling is good though.”

Laurens Ten Dam
The Team Sky cars and riders got a hard time from the Dutch supporters, but if you rode for Belkin that was different. Photo©Martin Williamson

Tell us about the week leading in to the Tour, please.

“I usually try to take it easy; hopefully not too many interviews and also race in the national championships.”

When do the big butterflies really begin to flap in your tummy?

“Usually when you arrive at the race depart town.”

Have you and Bauke talked tactics, yet?

“No we haven’t yet; there’ll plenty of time for that.”

It must make things tougher mentally with the Belkin withdrawal news and guys like me asking you about it?

“Yes it does but I try to not put too much energy into it; we have a job to do now and it’s good to focus on that instead.”

You were eighth in California – how does it compare to a race of similar duration in Europe?

“Firstly, the peloton is smaller and I always find the roads are great with no roundabouts.

“And the race always has perfect hotels and food too.”

Were you happy with your ride in Suisse?

“No, not really, I was 13th I would have liked to be top 10.”

Can Rui Costa contend over three weeks?

“Yes, I think so.”

Any Tour predictions for us?


Clearly a man of fewer words than facial hairs – but we thank him for his time nonetheless and wish him ‘all the best’ for le Grand Boucle.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Shelley Verses – Pro Cycling’s First Female Soigneuse

Soigneurs; they shouldn’t be too young – they have to have lived a bit; they should be mysterious; surrounded by an aura of camphor and early season changing rooms; of few, gruff words; have hands like shovels... but blonde, cute, smiling, chatty, cheerful, Californian – and a woman? That was – and is – Ms. Shelley Verses, the first female to break into the closed world of pro cycling as a soigneur with Motorola, La Vie Claire, Toshiba and TVM.

The Glasgow Grand Prix 2008

The Tour of Britain's penultimate stage departed from Glasgow Green today, taking the peloton south to the beautiful setting of Drumlanrig Castle in the Southern Uplands. The Glasgow Grand Prix took advantage of the closed circuit and the watching crowds, with two events following immediately after the ToB departure.

Grenoble Six Day 2006 – Fifth Night

It's 9.30 and I'm just up, Kris sleeps in the camper van. He says it's more comfortable, but I think it's because I snore so badly. It was interesting at breakfast today; the guys were talking about what they did before they were full-time pro cyclists.

Jocky Wilson, RIP … and Cav’s Weight

I know we're a hard-core bike racing site, but bear with me - Scotland doesn't produce too many world champions - and of those, none I can think of ever came from Kirkcaldy. Jocky Wilson was a legend and to hear of his death made me very sad - believe it or not, I always wanted to interview the man from the 'China Town' area of Kirkcaldy.

CTT Team Time Trial Championships 2021

Defending champions and race favourites, Ribble Weldtite with strong men Dan Bigham, James Shaw and Simon Wilson took the CTT Team Time Trial Championships title on a cool, damp but still morning at Irvine on the west coast of Scotland, with a time of 54:01, averaging 55.9 kph to best their own ‘B’ team by 2:32, the line up there being Zeb Kyffin, Joe Wilson and Matt Gibson.

The New SRAM Red Groupset

SRAM brought out the new Force and Rival groupsets a while back [read our Review of the Force groupset here], and the Saunier Duval ProTour team used it on their Scott bikes to great effect last season. Now SRAM have released the SRAM Red group set and as well as Saunier Duval, the new Astana team will be using the Red group on their Trek Madone frames for the 2008 season as well. We managed to get a sneak preview and a short ride on an Astana team bike recently when they were in Spain for their first training camp.

At Random

Omloop Het Volk & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2008 – Day 3

Sunday dawned bright and clear and it was three refreshed men who headed for Kuurne Brussels Kuurne. This was bike skeking taken to a new level; two-and-a-half hours of it, and it wasn't enough. Batavus are an old favourite of ours and their 'Professional X' is cool, matt black against a tide of white this year.

Steve McEwen – Helping Israel to International Track Competitiveness

Steve McEwen hails from a little Scottish town on the banks of the Crinan Canal and was instrumental in the recent revival and dominance of Dutch track fortunes on the international stage. Steve is now charged with building track sport in Israel from zero to international competitiveness. We found out more...

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 11: Eymet – Pau, 203.5km. Maciej Bodnar excites as Marcel Kittel takes his tally to five!

‘Sprinter stages,’ why are they so dull? Albeit ‘Bison’ Bodnar (Bora hansgrohe & Poland) did a job of enlivening the last wee bittie of yesterday’s procession. Maciej Bodnar ended the day on top. Firstly, the GC teams won’t go in the break, they’re there to look after their team leader; mountain stages are different where they’ll put men up the road so as the team leader can bridge up to them.

Theo de Rooij – One of the World’s Best Pro Riders and Directeur Sportifs

He had a stellar amateur career in a Golden Era for Netherlands Cycling; rode for four of the sport’s most famous teams – Ijsboerke, Capri Sonne, Raleigh and Panasonic; was a highly successful team manager and is still deeply involved with the sport he loves. VeloVeritas is delighted to be able to bring you the thoughts of Mr. Theo de Rooij.

Chloé Dygert Owen – Winning Rainbow Jerseys for Five Years

How long a career do you need to have to win 10 [yes ten] World titles? US ‘chrono girl,’ Chloé Dygert Owen has won that many and she’s still only 23 years-old; and there are two Pan Am golds and an Olympic silver in the dresser drawer too. High times we ‘had a word’ with the young lady out of Indiana.

A Day at the ‘Duinencross’ – the Koksijde Cyclo-Cross 2014

We're at the Gent Six Day, and of course, the pils still gets the better of a few of the ‘don’t get out much brigade.’ Friday night didn’t see the best madison chase ever, and on a unanimous decision we headed for frites – and beer. We love the Vivaldi, the landlady, the crazy clientele, the 70’s Disco and the fact that no matter how late we stay, we’ve never seen closing time... And the Saturday of the Gent Six Day means just one thing – the big ‘cross at Koksijde.