Ellen van Dijk announces pregnancy, will return to racing 2024
World champion will make Paris Olympics her main goalPhoto by: Trek Segafredo
Ellen van Dijk, the multiple world time trial champion, is having her first child in September. The Dutch cyclist announced the news on Tuesday, adding that she will return to competition with Trek-Segafredo in 2024.
“My partner Benjamin and I are super excited to share the news that we are expecting our first child in September. It has always been our wish to start a family and so to have this wish come true, still feels a bit unreal right now,” she said.
We are expecting a baby in September!🤰👨👩👦👶🥰❤️ pic.twitter.com/gG6JOLoXIb
— Ellen van Dijk (@ellenvdijk) March 9, 2023
Her 2022 season was a massive success, with her winning a third time trial rainbow jersey, and setting a UCI hour record.
“Together with the team, and the unwavering support of Benjamin, I have achieved my biggest goals over the past two years. When discussions around an extension of my contract began last year, we spoke about my seemingly conflicting ambitions: I want to win a medal at the Olympics in 2024, but I would also like to start a family. Straight away, the team was open to both scenarios and that was incredibly heart-warming.”
Van Dijk learned she was pregnant while training with the team in January.
“Obviously, pregnancy is not something you can completely plan for, particularly as an elite athlete where, as in my case, there is not always a regular menstrual cycle. Therefore, I feel even more fortunate to get pregnant. I took the test and found out I was pregnant when I was at training camp and after my Benjamin, team doctor Manuel Rodriguez, and Josu Larrazabal, our performance manager were the first ones I told the news.”
Van Dijk will return to racing with Trek-Segafredo in 2024 with one big goal in mind.
“I definitely have unfinished business with the Olympics,” she added. “In 2016, I crashed in the time trial and ended in a disappointing fourth place then, I didn’t get selected to go to Tokyo so, we have already started to tentatively make a structured plan for my comeback in 2024 and for Paris.”
Van Dijk’s maternity leave comes as her teammate Lizzie Deignan prepares to return to racing following the birth of her second child. The Dutch rider thanked Trek for leading the way in allowing both riders to be able to combine family life along with a professional career as professional cyclists. Hopefully it is a trend that bike teams will continue to follow. In September 2020, Catharine Pendrel announced she was pregnant. She gave birth to her daughter in January 2021, and was racing the Tokyo Olympics seven months later.
“Having Lizzie in the team means a lot to me. She is a role model and seeing her do what she does, is very inspiring. Lizzie and Phil have proved that it’s possible to have a family and make a successful comeback. I’m sure I will be asking her for advice now and then as well.”