Puck Pieterse, the total cyclist who stole all the attention in Nove Mesto
Puck Pieterse has quickly become one of the most important riders on the cycling scene. In addition to her skills on the mud of cyclocross and her sensational Strade Bianche, she has now made her debut in the Elite XCO category. The Dutchwoman won in her debut in Nove Mesto and is called to be one of the great riders of her generation.
The total cyclist: Pieterse also wins in her debut at the Elite XCO World Cup
Although Puck Pieterse is still in the early stages of his career, the results she has achieved so far indicate that she is one of those talents so versatile and with so many skills that they are a rarity in any sport. In cycling, Mathieu Van der Poel and Tom Pidcock are good examples of this.
One day after his 21st birthday, Pieterse arrived at the start of the Nove Mesto XCO World Cup race. Elite category. She could have raced in U23, but she chose Elite. The result could not have been better: victory after beating Ferrand-Prevot in an attack in the final stages of the race.
The Dutchwoman with orange curls is a total cyclist, capable of rubbing shoulders with the best on any terrain. Something that makes her one of the most important names in cycling today and a clear bet for the future.
Mud in the DNA
As a good Dutchwoman, her beginnings go back to cyclo-cross. It is here that she has achieved her greatest professional successes and where she began writing her story five years ago. In October 2018, when the calendar marks the start of the cyclocross season, Pieterse raced her first season as an Elite.
The challenge was a big one for someone of his age, since at only 16 years old she would normally be racing in the U19 category. Pieterse experienced a roller coaster of results during that first year, with discrete numbers in the World Cup but good results in other minor events. She even won the GP Mobel Alvisse Leudelange in Luxembourg.
Despite this initial impetus, she decided to race the World Championship (sixth), the National Championship (fourth) and the European Championship (fifth) in U23.
The following season she won the U19 European Championship and came second in the National and World Championships in the same category. The victories followed one after the other from then on.
During this time, Puck Pieterse has managed to win 13 cyclocross races, including 4 World Cup races (all of them this past season), 1 European U19, 2 European U23, 1 World U23 and 1 National Elite. Pieterse is the current number 2 in the ranking, world runner-up, European U23 champion and national champion.
MTB, her other favorite scenario
Puck also came to the mountains at a young age. It was in 2019 that the Amersfoort native made her XCO debut as a junior rider. Victory. Second race. Victory. Third race. Third victory.
The stunning start to her XCO career led her to race nine more times that year, taking three more victories to finish 11th in the rankings.
In total, during all these years she has won 17 of the 49 races she has competed in. The best results were obtained last year: 15 races, 4 wins and 8 podiums. With the win in Nove Mesto last weekend, this season she already has 2 wins and 1 podium in 4 races.
Perhaps the greatest achievement of her short career has been the victory in Nove Mesto, the European U23 and the National Championships. She is currently number 23 in the ranking and has already explained that her goal is to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Road as the next target
After having demonstrated more than proven qualities in cyclocross and XCO, it seems that Pieterse also wants to prove herself on the road. For the moment her participations are scarce, but with everything still ahead of her, who knows if at some point she will devote her greatest efforts to the asphalt.
At the moment, she only has a tenth place in the 2019 National Championship, a 36th place in this year's Omloop van het Hageland and a fifth place in this season's Strade Bianche as well.
This last result is the one that brought her into the spotlight, as it is an excellent result for someone with little experience in this type of event.
At the moment, Pieterse is under contract with Alpecin-Deceuninck/Fenix-Deceuninck until 2025. It is impossible to predict how far her career will go and whether she will add many more titles and victories to her résumé.
The only thing that seems clear today is that Puck Pieterse is, because of her versatility and her successes in so many different disciplines, one of the chosen ones to mark an era in women's cycling in the coming years.