Floortje Mackaij is one of the key riders for the Team Sunweb women’s team. As a teenager she was a speed skater at national level, but she switched to cycling in 2012. She was second in the 2019 Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes. We asked her the Five Prologue Questions:

1. What is your favourite cycling book?

I have never read a cycling book. I own a copy of the Thomas Dekker book, but I have to admit I’ve not opened it.

2. What was your first racing bike?

A red Gazelle! It’s a family tradition: it had my name on it. My father had one, my grandfather and my brother too: we all had a red Gazelles as our first racing bikes.

3. Who was your biggest cycling hero, and why?

That’s a difficult one: I don’t really have cycling heros. I have colleagues and team mates, but I don’t really look up to anyone else.

4. What was your toughest day on the bike?

The World Team Trial Championships over 42,5km in Bergen, Norway, in 2017. I was 21 years old. And with the team time trial you can never race you own pace, you always have to keep up with the rest. That hurt so much! And it’s quite gross, you have like spit all over yourself from the sheer effort. You have to ride so hard that you almost see cross-eyed. But in the final kilometers we heard that we had the fastest time. I’m getting goose-bumps just talking about it. That gave us so much extra motivation. And Team Sunweb won! Such a great feeling after so much suffering.

5. What’s the best piece of cycling advice you would like to pass on?

I ride my bike because I enjoy cycling, not because I have to. Sometimes I’ll stop for a coffee half way through training, and look around. The same goes for other things in life: if you don’t enjoy doing what you’re doing, then you’ll never get pleasure out of it!