Rider type: Classics
Biggest success: 1st Paris – Roubaix U23
Team 2011: Rabobank Continental Team
Team 2012: Skil
Beste Mock List-placing: new
Ramon moves in mysterious ways. In the beginning of his career, his ways were as clearly defined, as they were inaccessible with a usual road bike. That is because as a junior the Dutchman from North Holland was a successful cyclocrosser. In 2006 he became national champion, one year later in Hooglede he just missed the podium at the Worlds. On the road he finished third at the Nationals in 2006, which is not that unusual for a good cyclocrosser at that age.
Sinkeldam though, obviously didn’t want to be a cyclocrosser. The transition to The Rabobank Continental Team left room for both directions, in the end he decidedly shortened his cyclocross calendar in favour of his road career.
His first U23 season in the field was short, but appealing. He became fourth at the Nationals and achieved several Top 10 placings in major U23 races. On the road on the contrary, there was a complete absence of good results. A reality check for the Dutchman, you would think...
Obviously Sinkeldam himself approached the situation differently. The short '09 cyclocross season was very similar to the one before. At the Nationals he climbed one place, that helped him to a bronze medal. The World Championships, won by Walsleben, he concluded on eighth place, the obligatory top 10 results were not missing as well.
Again on the road there was not much to cheer about on international soil. On the dutch roads however he scored twice. Behind Steven Kruijswijk he came in second at the Nationals – seventh place at the National Time Trial Championships is as well worth mentioning. In contrast to his cyclocross results, this didn’t make him part of the world’s top.
The logical consequence: In 2010 he crossed out a big part of his cross season! Not only the quantity did decrease, Sinkeldam appearently did not take the races as serious as he did before, because except of his great second place at the Nationals, there was not much to gain for him in the mud.
He celebrated his biggest success on the road that year at – we almost presumed that – the Nationals, where he came in second again, this time behind Tom – Jelte Slagter. Furthermore his ninth place at the Münsterland Giro (1.1) drew some attention.
At the end of the day that was not enough at all to seriously hope for a pro contract, especially as the Mini Rabo team produces top talents each year.
So it seemed last year, that the dutch cross sport had lost a great talent in favour of a failed road career. This winter the 22 year old rolled in as 15th at the Nationals, his fourth and last cross race of the season. This road season started like the last ones ended; disillusioning. But suddenly things changed rapidly! Within two months Ramon Sinkeldam showed that he has got the talent to roll with the big dogs. On the road!
The turn of events started at the Olympia’s Tour (2.2). On the closing stage he was part of the desperate Mini Rabo coup, when three team members started a hail mary attack deep in the hilly land of Limburg, to take apart Michael Hepburn and his Jayco squad. This successful action earned Sinkeldam fifth place overall and some curious looks, as in contrast to Bol and Dumoulin, Sinkeldam was not really expected in such a move.
One week later the U23 version of Paris – Roubaix was on the menu. With 40km to go, a decisive five man group arose; including the Mini Rabo. With two kilometers to go, he attacked his remaining companions, Mock Lister Rathe and reigning junior World Champion Jasper Stuyven. The two were not able to follow the Dutchman, who won the classic race solo.
Another week later Sinkeldam took the dutch national classic Ronde van Limburg. The next strike the interested cycling community of the world was able to follow live on tv or the internet. At this point in this article it must be clear that Ramon Sinkeldam is a championship rider. That is why he started at the Nationals in Ootmaarsum as one of the favourites. In the finale of the race however a relatively big group was formed with some of his teammates. Sinkeldam was trapped in the peloton. At least until that moment where he exploded away from the bunch on the uphill finish line in a way that nobody has exploded away anywhere for quite a time. With an imaginary bang he had a hundred meters within a glimpse and had bridged the gap to the group some 20 seconds later. He remained the only rider to accomplish this until the end of the race. The front group itself however had splitted in the meantime. The rider with Mini Rabo Wesley Kreder among them went clear of the restgroup. So Sinkeldam exploded away a second time. With the same effect, shocked faces everywhere – and a bridged gap. As Sinkeldam crossed over...and attacked again – and they never saw him again. The explosiveness the dutchman worked with, surely emerged from his cross background. That cyclocross dynamite legs work in road cycling as well is proven by Lars Boom and Zdenek Stybar among others during the last years.
Although it went quiet around him after this two insane months, it is surprising that the Rabobank Pro Tour team didn't secure the services of the young man. Instead the Skil squad seeked for the former cyclocrosser.
The Worlds look very similar to the dutch Nationals this year. If Sinkeldam is able to create a similar form, he will be one of the serious contenders for a medal. Especially because of the terrific team he is backed up by.
Nominated by Ogkempf, written by Ogkempf, translated by Ogkempf