Marianne Vos on what keeps her motivated: ‘It’s the game of racing, it’s never the same’

Marianne Vos has won almost everything but she still loves racing. She's in strong form this autumn and she is focused on the worlds and the first women's Paris-Roubaix.

Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images

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How do you motivate yourself to go for more when you’ve won almost everything?

It’s not a quandary that many of us find ourselves in, but it is something that Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) ponders at times.

The mighty Dutch rider’s trophy case is packed with seven cyclocross world titles, three road world titles, and two more on the track, on top of two Olympic gold medals on the road and track.

Vos, 34, has racked up well over 200 wins during her career, including victories at Gent-Wevelgem, Amstel Gold Race, and the Giro d’Italia Donne this year. Despite winning almost everything on the calendar, Vos still has the cycling bug and the drive to keep pushing herself to continue racing for more.

“Of course, I’ve been questioning this myself, maybe 10 years ago already. Maybe somewhere, the motivation will go, but I just like the sport,” Vos told VeloNews. “I just like to ride my bike and enjoy the training and I also enjoy the racing. For me, there’s always a challenge to improve to get better and to try to get the maximum out of myself.”

Also read: Marianne Vos is a living legend

“Then in the race itself — it’s the game of racing, and it’s never the same,” she continued. “Every race is a different race and you’re in scenarios that you try to make the best. With this new team, Jumbo-Visma, yeah, it’s also a new environment that you have to try and make the best of so I think this for me, it’s it hasn’t been a big problem to stay motivated. As long as I’m healthy and I can do it and I can improve. I really enjoy it.”

The women’s cycling world has changed during the arc of Vos’s career but she has adapted to it each step along the way. While she doesn’t win as much as she used to, she’s still one of the most prolific in the bunch.

In 25 days racing on the road this season she has won seven times and taken a GC win at the Simac Ladies Tour. In fact, she has only been outside the top 10 on five occasions in 2021 and one of those was the summit finish at Prato Nevoso during the Giro d’Italia Donne.

As if Vos didn’t already have enough records in her back pocket, she added another major milestone to her palmarès in 2021. The 34-year-old already held the record for Giro d’Italia Donne stage wins, but she surpassed the 30-mark by racking up another two.

It was an achievement that led Mark Cavendish to declare her “the GOAT” [greatest of all time -ed] and few would have disputed him in his assertion.

Also read: Giro d’Italia Donne: The ‘GOAT’ – Marianne Vos and her road to 30 stage wins

Setting records doesn’t motivate Vos, though, nor does the idea of ticking off the small number of events she hasn’t already won. A win is a win, whether she’s done it before or not.

“In this Giro itself, we tried to go for a stage victory with the team. And, and then to be able to take a win that’s always fantastic. I wasn’t really thinking of taking that many,” Vos said during a telephone interview.

“It’s not that I’m missing something in my palmarès or waiting or whatever. I’m just trying to get the best out of myself. We have such a beautiful calendar in so many beautiful races that there is always a next goal to go for.”

For Vos this year, the next goals for her will be the European road championships in Trentino later this week and the World championships in Flanders at the end of September. She’s also due to line up for the inaugural women’s Paris-Roubaix, where she’ll be a hot favorite for the victory.

Though Vos is not motivated by filling in the rare empty spot on her palmarès, a cobblestone winning the first-ever Paris-Roubaix Femmes would be a sweet addition to her bulging trophy cabinet.

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