Thijs Poelstra: "In Africa they always sprint, even to come in 85th."

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19.01.2008/ Thijs Poelstra is one of those riders who race everywhere. The 25 year old Dutch rider just came back from the Jelajah Malaysia. Poelstra finished 73th overall. He likes to race outside Europe: "In Africa they always sprint, even to come in 85th." An interview with Thijs Poelstra.

© Thijs Poelstra
Thijs Poelstra during the Tour of Malaysia ( Thijs Poelstra)

Cyclingheroes: You are one of the founders of the Altipower team. How did the team start?
Thijs Poelstra: Together with Frank Kwanten I got the idea to start the team. We thought it would be fun to ride some 'different' races. So we looked for a sponsor to make it possible. Before that we already did a couple of races outside Europe. These experiences raised our enthusiasm.
Cyclingheroes: Altipower [or  Global Cycling Team] is riding a lot of races outside Europe. Is there a big difference between races in Europe and other continents?
Thijs Poelstra: Not really. The first rider who crosses the line is always the winner. Of course the circumstances are different. The same goes for the mentality of the riders. For instance: In Africa they sprint for every result, even to come in 85th. Collaboration is almost impossible. Even the riders who are far behind are launching attack after attack although it would be better for them to ride to the finish together.

Cyclingheroes: How many races do you ride every year and do you have special memories of certain races outside Europe?
Thijs Poelstra:  In the last two years I did about 100 racing days a year, more then half of them where outside Europe. I do have special memories from African races like Senegal, Burkina Faso and Camerun. But Indonesia was very special as well. A good atmosphere is important and that there is something to see and to do after the race.
Cyclingheroes: Can you tell us something about the 2008 roster of the team? 

Thijs Poelstra: We are always on the road with riders of other teams [Like Malaya van Ruitenbeek at the Vuelta Al Tachira, editor]. We create a team with riders who are interested to ride a particular race for every occasion. 
Cyclingheroes: Unfortunately doping has become a hot item in Europe. Is it the same outside Europe? And do you notice that if you are riding in Asia or South-America?
Thijs Poelstra: I little-noticed it in Asia or Africa. There are discussions about it, but nothing serious. I think the situation in South-America is a bit more serious. At the moment [untill yesterday, editor] there are riding a few Dutch riders of our team in Venezuela. A few riders were taken out of the race because they had high haematocrit levels. 
Cyclingheroes: Hoe do you look back at the past season?
Thijs Poelstra: Well, I rode beautiful races. Last year I raced every month. I started with [Tour of] Siam in Thailand in January and after that I continued to race until December 2007 at the Tour of the South-China Sea.
Cyclingheroes: What programme will you race in 2008?
Thijs Poelstra: I will have less time in 2008 because I started to work, but I hope to be able to race the Tour of Iran.  Iran is a special country and a real cycling country. The best Asian riders are coming from Iran. [Ahad Kazemi won last years Tour of Thailand, editor] The Tour of Iran is new at the calendar and we already made contact. For the rest... I don't really know. I also want to ride a lot of Dutch races. At the beginning of January I already raced the Jelajah Malaysia. A very beautiful race, a kind of little brother of the Tour de Langkawi.
Cyclingheroes:  What are you aiming for in the upcoming season?
Thijs Poelstra: I don't have real goals. Of course I hope to get some good results  but most of all I want to do some special trips.

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Thijs Poelstra
Birthdate: October 27, 1982
Residence: Tubbergen (Netherlands)
More information about the Altipower team:

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