How to Wear a Cycling Cap: Jelle Nijdam


A Buckler cap classically perched. Nijdam rode with the Buckler squad for the 1990, 91 and 92 seasons. During those three years he bagged himself two Tour de France stage wins, one at the Vuelta a Espana, won the Three Days of De Panne, won the Tour of the Netherlands twice, and finished third at Amstel Gold, and second at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Other career wins, with other teams, include two-time victor of Binche-Tournai-Binche (1990, 1995), four additional stages of the TdF, making six total, the Amstel Gold Race (1988), and Dwars door Vlaanderen (1987, 1995). In 1993 he captured a podium spot (3rd) at the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, and in 1996 a final podium with a 2nd at Nokere Koerse.

Interestingly, former American pro, Joe Parkin considered Nijdam to be the meanest rider in the peloton: "Definitely Jelle Nijdam. I hated the guy. I got punched by him in races a few times! He didn't care for me much and made it known…" You can read more of that in this 2009 interview at Cyclingnews.com

Was it personal, or was there some kind of bad blood between Dutch and American riders? Can't say i was familiar with the Parkin/Nijdam incident, but the punch to the face of Davis Phinney by Dutchman Michel Zanoli during the 1992 Tour du Pont, was talked up in local pelotons all around the country at the time. I don't recall any particular Dutch / American rivalry going on, so we are probably just talking coincidence, nor was the Davis punch Zanoli's only bout of fisticuffs in that race.

Back to Nijdam, mean or otherwise he is, and has long been, a dedicated cyclist. These days he can be found organizing and leading bicycle tours, both mountain and road, around the Netherlands countryside for Jelle Nijdam Events.

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