Arjen de Baat: "Sometimes I am a difficult guy."

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30.01.2008/ Dutch rider Arjen de Baat left Rabobank's continental team for the Spanish Camargo-Roper squad. The 21 year old was born in a cycling family: His uncle, Teun van Vliet had a succesful career as a pro and his mother, Nita van Vliet is a former Dutch National Road Champion, his father was Dutch National Champion as well.  An interview with Arjen de Baat: "Sometimes I am a difficult guy."

© Arjen de Baat
Arjen de Baat signed with Camargo-Roper ( Arjen de Baat)

Cyclingheroes: You were born in a real cycling family, was it a logical step to race yourself?

Arjen de Baat: Yes I think it was. I did various other sports before and then I started to race as I was 11 years old. I thought my parents and my uncle were good at it, so I must be good at it as well. Thats how I started.

Cyclingheroes: Last year you had a few setbacks, among other things because of illness. Did that make you stronger as a rider?

Arjen de Baat: Sure. During the time I was sick I almost had no contact with the team management.. I was almost standing alone. I got everything on track again with the help of my parents, my health but surely also mentally! I didn't race for six weeks and didn't train for four weeks. My first race was the national championships [Netherlands, editor] and I came in second...! That was a victory against myself!

Cyclingheroes: You left Rabobank during the 2007 season. Why did you leave Rabobank Continental?

Arjen de Baat: Because I didn't fit in! Sometimes I am a difficult guy and sometimes also very stubborn! At Rabobank you have so many rules I felt miserable... I was often irritated...felt really bad... and because of that I decided to do things differently... because the most important thing is to have fun when you ride. I certainly did not have that with Rabobank!

Cyclingheroes: You started for the Spanish Camargo-Roper squad after you left Rabobank. You had some good results in Spain...

Arjen de Baat: Yes, it was very difficukt to find a new team during the season, but I absolutely wanted to leave.... and suddenly I could go to Spain. My manager, Olivier Onderbeke had some contacts there and arranged it all in ten days. I was free to do what I want at that team and was allowed to do it my way... I had good results although I was in bad shape, just because there I really felt great.

Cyclingheroes: Is there a big difference between Camargo and Rabobank Continental?

Arjen de Baat: A very big difference! At Camargo you are free to do what you want. Of course there are rules but you can bring in your own ideas... The biggest difference is that in the evening we all drink a beer or a glass of wine together, just relax for a moment  and make fun with the team management. That does me good. It really is a team of friends! At Rabo everybody wants to have a good result themselves... and here your teammates really wish you a good result. Everybody would go through fire and water for each other! 

Cyclingheroes: What is your role at Camargo - Roper and can you tell us more about the team?

Arjen de Baat: In the upcoming season I and David Guttierez are the captains of the team. We have to try to win stage races. David and I became really good friends last year, we understand each other really well and that is very important. He is a pure climber who attacks all the time, it drives you insane. Last year he has won 16 races in Spain.. en was third overall in the Spanish year ranking. For the rest we have all kinds of riders and everybody gets his opportunity to ride a good result.

Cyclingheroes: You are 21 years old now. What would you like to achieve with your career as a rider and is there a race that you absolutely want to win in the future?

Arjen de Baat: I don't have really a goal what I absolutely want to win. But if I need to have a goal it would be to win a Tour [de France, editor] stage. I think thats something that gives you a bit of everlasting glory.

Cyclingheroes: Do you already know something about your programme for 2008 and what are your personal goals this season?

Arjen de Baat: Our team will race 22 stage races, I can choose my own programme. The first two months I will use all races as a preparation. The races where I want to be good are the Vuelta a Espana for amateurs and absolutely the Circuito Montanes! But w'll see what the future will bring for me. You can be damn sure that I really want to go for it!

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Arjen de Baat
Birthdate: October 1, 1986
Place of birth: Dordrecht (Netherlands)
Residence: Puttershoek (Netherlands), Santander (Spain)
Height: 1.79 mtr.
Weight: 66 kg.
2005            Konica-Minolta
2006 - 2007  Rabobank Continental (until 31.07.2007)
2007 -   ?     Camargo - Roper
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