Welcome to Universe Cycling Team

Tour of Algeria

8 April 2023|

It was great to see the eleven day (10 stages in the 2.2 race plus a 1.2 on the eleventh day to top it off) back on the UCI Africa Tour calendar. After a winter full of training, or after a winter without too much training, this would be the perfect race to either show good form or get in good form. Getting an invitation was not too easy, but using the diplomatic approach in Mauritania with the coach of the Algerian national team by Dirk, the invitation was in our inbox a full 4 weeks before the event.

Unfortunataly, this also meant some of our members could not go (as they were already racing in Argentina), due to the visa procedures for which Bart spend a full morning at the Algerian embassy. Well, at least we did request our visa in time and there were no problems entering our plane, contrary to some other teams. Furthermore, Antonie already eliminated himself from participating the week before the event, by incurring a concussion he underestimated at his work the week before departure.

The last impediment to hosting a team, was finding a team manager on such a short notice. Luckily, the always enthousiastic personification of Mauritanian cycling, our beloved Mister Sy, was willing to stand in and be our team manager for the racing. Having a team manager fluent in French and Arabic would prove to be rather useful over the week and in combination with Mister Sy’s enthousiasm, we were on positive vibes the whole week despite some setbacks. On top of that, Joost (renamed ‘Media’ by Mister Sy on the first day, despite not making too many photo’s) stood in to help our team throughout the two weeks and get his first experience of African racing and African cuisine (and its consequences for inexperienced visitors).

The race itself proved to be a beautiful, well organised Tour throughout, what we thought, would be the whole country. Although we visited many different regions and climates, we realised we only saw about 5% of the enourmous country that is Algeria. Nevertheless, it seemed as if the entire population was packed along the route and in the start/finish towns to cheer on the riders, ask questions and take photographs.

From a sportive perspective, the highlights of the week were definitely Lars wearing the yellow jersey for one day and Luuk winning the fifth stage from the breakaway. Both Lars and Luuk crashed the day after their respective success (which in Luuk case meant he could not continue the race), so our success was only short-lived. On top of that, most stages ended in a mass sprint in which our sprinter Jarri did not stand a chance against the Algerian sprinting legs of Reguigui and Hamza. Nevertheless, Jarri managed to finish third in the closing 1.2 race in the city center of Algiers.

Directly heading to our next races, the Tour of Algeria was a great race for our team to be part of.

Tour du Sahel

16 February 2023|

Nouakchott, Tour du Sahel.

When telling people around us we would be racing in Mauritania, many had to look on a map where Mauritania is actually located. Understandably, it is a country that rarely reaches the news in Western countries, yet that was only sparking our interest to go there. After good contact with ‘Mister Sy’ – the team manager for the Mauritanian national team – last year in some races in Morocco, it was only natural we would receive an invitation for the Tour du Sahel.

Kenny and Antonie decided to plan a little 3-day panic training stage on Gran Canaria before the race. According to Antonie’s record, he would issue a negative travel advice for anyone planning to go to Gran Canaria with Kenny. Unfortunately for Kenny and luckily for Antonie, the roads in Mauritania would be mostly flat with crosswinds. The rest of the team joined in directly from home and after a day of exploring Nouakchott, unpacking our lovely new kit and preparing ourselves for a five day sahara trip, we were eager to start for the race.

Tour du Sahel 2023

The first raceday was already exemplary for the rest of the week. The time schedule in the road book appeared to be only an indication and despite the stages being relatively short, we spend each day a full day hitting the road, waiting for lunch packages or podium ceremonies. The reason why google maps would not show the starting village would become clear when we arrived on the spot: There was no village, only a line on the road indicating ‘Depart’ and emptyness surrounding us. Lars, packed with morale from a winter of training, went headwind solo from the gun: a suicide mission. Nevertheless, he did dare to acknowledge after the finish that at some point – despite having only a 2:00 gap with 80 km to go – he started to believe in his chances, which basically mimicked our tactics for the whole week. Despite not standing a chance against the Moroccon team in the crosswinds, never give up and believe in ourselves, even if the situation was completely hopeless, which resulted in a stage win in the fourth stage.

Even more important than the race, the Mauritanian hospitality in one of the most remote areas of our planet made the race a special experience. Eating a goat leg with the whole team with our bare hands, joking with our new friends from the Tunesian national team, trying some camel milk for its extra recovery effect and sleeping with the five of us in a 2-person room, the Tour du Sahel was a perfect race to start the season for our team.

Tour du Sahel
Tour du Sahel

Universe Cycling Team hits the road in 2023

27 November 2022|

We are happy and excited to announce our dream becoming reality: Universe Cycling Team. Universe Cycling Team is a new Dutch Continental team. New in the broadest sense of the word: our team will be a blend of creativity, travel, camaraderie and racing. Cycling is our lifeline and the very basis of our friendship. Cycling is our window to the world, the globe and the universe. Cycling makes us realize that we can be big and small at the same time in the macrocosm: feeling on top of the world after winning a race, but also seeing the world that exists beyond that. Universe cycling team is the translation of our friendship, passion for cycling and travel into a semi-professional cycling team.

Racing has brought us to the most fascinating corners of the world. From the scorching heat of Burkina Faso, cross winds in the Sahara to road tripping from race to race in the East of Europe. With Universe Cycling Team we aim to go beyond. Racing in new countries and into new horizons. We are able to step up our game with the help of some fantastic partners.

The coming days and weeks we will announce the riders in our team. Our team is a beautiful mess of quality bike riders and quite the personas off the bike, from an academic to entrepreneurs and bureaucrats. Stay tuned to learn more about the racing calendar of the team and the 2023 roster.


Universe Cycling Team