Egon van Kessel is one of the great Directeurs Sportifs in the women’s peloton. After his own cycling career, he moved to directing, and among his achievements are many years coaching and managing the women’s and men’s Dutch National Team, through Olympics, World Championships and more, and DSing for some of the biggest names in the women’s peloton, including USA Saturn, in the 1990s, and the much-missed Cervélo Test Team in the 2000s. In 2014 he demonstrated why he has such a great reputation, taking over a Wiggle Honda team that was stuffed full of big personalities, and ending the season at the top of the UCI rankings with an amazing four Road World Cup wins. I talked to him about how he did it, what his biggest achievements have been, his thoughts about British cyclists and cycling, his plans for Wiggle High5’s 2016 season, and more.
Listen here, or click through to Soundcloud to download the podcast – or read the transcript below. Follow Wiggle High5 through the season with their website, twitter, facebook and Youtube, and Egon through his twitter too.
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ProWomensCycling: How are you?
Egon van Kessel: I’m fine. I’m waiting for the start of the season, although my team is already racing in Australia, and I’m following their results, but my first race will be the Ladies Tour of Qatar, and I’m looking forward to it.
PWC: What are you busy with at this time of year, as a Directeur Sportif?
EvK: Mainly with the programme. I’m contacting the riders and team management, discussing the programme, which races we want to do, talking with the riders about where they’d like to race. I always have to explain to them that I cannot fulfill all their wishes, but I always try. And enjoying the days I’m still at home, because in the season I’m away from home for many, many days, so I’m enjoying staying with family and friends.
PWC: You’ve got quite an interesting task this year, because last year, I have to admit, when I saw Wiggle Honda‘s roster, I just didn’t believe it was going to work – too many big stars, who was going to carry the water, how are they going to race together. But you had some incredible results! How do you feel about 2015?