Type of Rider: Sprinter, Classics of the North
Biggest Success 1st Ronde van Drenthe
Team/Club 2010: Rabobank Continental Team
Team 2011: Rabobank
Best Mock List Ranking: 1st (2008)
Roger Federer, Olaf Bodden, Robert Förster. Coen Vermeltfoort. What do these four athletes have in common? Correct, they all once suffered from mononucleosis, some more, some less. Coen Vermeltfoort was hit hard by the illness – he lost a whole year. After 8 partly top-class wins Vermeltfoort was close to signing for the Rabobank Pro-team in the end of 2008, but fate decided afterwise. Not one single road race the Dutchman rode in 2009.
For the early career of Vermeltfoort (including the wish to become hometown Schuinesloots’ best chicken-catcher) see the Mock List of 2008. We will continue at the beginning of 2009: at the Mini-Rabo’s training camp in Spain in Mid January the Dutchman feels weak – the team doctor orders a rest of two weeks. Blood tests reveal that Vermeltfoort was infected with the Eppstein-Barr virus, that can cause mononucleosis. That’s not at all surprising, as 95% of all Europeans under 30 years are affected by it. But in most of the cases the ailment is without symptoms. Vermeltfoort wasn’t so lucky. He couldn’t train without getting very tired. More than two or three hours a week were not possible – and not more than one hour for each ride. The illness required a several-months-long resting period. Only in summer the healing slowly started and in the next training-camp at the end of July Vermeltfoort could participate, but only as a companion. Normal training was only possible in September. Too late for the road season, that the Dutchman had to write off without participating in a single race.
The necessary racing strength Vermeltfoort wanted to gain through cyclo-cross-races. He rarely finished top 10, but it didn’t matter, as 2010 was supposed to be the big comeback year on the road. In the meantime former collegues like Lars Boom, Tejay van Garderen or Ricardo van der Velde already rode for Pro-Tour teams, while Vermeltfoort had to continue where he left off in 2008. The Driedaagse van Westvlaanderen (2.1) were his comeback race, but the return to the top was at the Tour de Normandie (2.2), where he finished five stages in the Top ten. In April top form came within a week, when the Dutchman finished 8th in the Ronde van Drenthe (1.1) and 3rd at Dwars door Drenthe (1.1) and also won the Flemish Mini-Ronde (including Muur, Bosberg et.al.) Zellik-Galmaarden (1.2) – the first win in 19 months! After a second place at the Omloop der Kempen (1.2) Vermeltfoort had a tough fight with Top-Mocker Taylor Phinney at the Olympia’s Tour (2.2), a traditional proving ground for the Mini-Rabos: in the time trials the prodigy from the US was faster in both cases, but in sprint finishes Vermeltfoort beat the US-Boy twice, secured second place overall and the point’s jersey.
The second half of the season was rather quiet, but rest assured: Coen Vermeltfoort is back and nearly on the level that had led him to Rank 1 in the Mock-List of 2008. In sprint finishes he is always dangerous; also in short time-trials he is quite good. What was a possiblity two years ago, now becomes reality in 2011: Vermeltfoort will join the Rabobank Pro-Team. Before that he will have to be watched in Melbourne, if the race is decided in a mass-sprint.
nominated by ogkempf, Offi, virtualprofit, wagenge, gardener & chreezer, written by gardener, translated by bugno