Lucinda Brand (29) is a key rider in the Team Sunweb elite women’s team. This season so far she has place third in Dwars door Vlaanderen, 9th in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and 5th in Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes. Brand is especially good when the going gets tough, and the weather conditions too. This could be due to her excellent qualities as a cyclocrosser: she’s Dutch national champion. We ask her the Five Prologue Questions:

1. What is your favourite cycling book?

I never read books, and definitely not cycling books!

2. What was your first racing bike?

My very first bike was small and red. I don’t remember the brand. Then I had a Frondriest, but I was most proud of my blue Colnago when I was a kid. There was a picture of a cyclist painted on the frame, just behind the stem: he was so cool, I liked it so much!

Lucinda Brand

Not Brand’s original Colnago man, but one like him…

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

When I was a kid Leontien van Moorsel was super-good, and I think I was about 12 or 13 years old when she won gold medals on the road, time trial and track. I really looked up to her, and I also went to one of her clinics and was super-proud. So Leontien.

Leontien van Moorsel winning the Ronde van Drenthe in 2002. – Photo: Cor Vos

4. What was your toughest day on the bike?

The Queen’s stage of the Giro Rosa a couple of years ago. I wasn’t in good form. The stage was a big mountain climb, and then a rolling descent to the coast and an uphill finish. I got dropped halfway up the first climb! I was in a groupetto, but even that went too fast. In the end, it was just me, my Team Sunweb team-mate Julia Soek and one other rider. Julia kept us motivated all the time on the road, when every hill was hurting. What we didn’t know was that there was a big group behind us, so we could have waited and joined them, but we had no idea! That group dropped us on the final climb. It’s the only time I have seen lots of riders coming back down the hill, before I had even finished. It was a really long day.

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

Learn to look around. I think sometimes people forget to enjoy what is around them, and are just busy with beating the Strava KOM or pushing the power numbers up on Zwift. But as I get to see more and more places, we must not forget to enjoy what is around us, just like when we first started riding our bikes.