The Women’s Cycling Association showcases inspiring riders from the women’s cycling community. This week we’re excited to feature 2014 Dutch National Road Race Champion and new WCA Board of Director member, Iris Slappendel.

Women’s Cycling Association: How did you become involved in cycling?

Iris Slappendel: It was actually by pure chance that I became a professional cyclist. I was competing in long distance skating when it ended up that I was much better at cycling. But initially. I bought a race bike just to train for skating. I had turned up at bike races and within a year I was selected to race the Junior World Championships, where to my utter surprise, I won a bronze medal in the time trial!

Vital Stats
Name: Iris Slappendel
Hometown: Ouderkerk aan den IJssel – South Holland, the Netherlands
Racing Age: 29
Category: Pro
Primary Discipline: Road

WCA: How long have you been riding?

Iris: Since I was 16. So that’s 13 years already.

WCA: What has been your most memorable experience in the sport?

Iris: Junior World Championships in Hamilton, Canada. It was my first encounter with professional cycling and the whole event made a big impression on me. It was also the moment I realized I was good at this sport, and winning the bronze medal was a big motivation to take it more seriously.

WCA: Do you have a favorite race. If so, why?

Iris: Tour of Flanders. Heroic race, beautiful course and great ambiance.

WCA: What challenges have you faced in cycling?

Iris: Lots of issues with teams and sponsors. Like sponsors pulling out halfway the season. Or teams quitting (without notice) just before the end of November (UCI deadline). Until 2010 I combined study and a part time job with my cycling career which was quite hard.

Iris Slappendel

Iris Slappendel

WCA: What do you enjoy most about the sport?

Iris: Cycling is freedom. Everyday in cycling you have to push and beat yourself. On the bike, you really fight against the elements and at the same time you are one with them.

I also enjoy the amount of time I spend outdoors riding. I get to experience each season to its fullest and I look forward to the variety of my training that comes with each season.

WCA: What are your goals in cycling?

Iris: Keep improving myself, and winning a monument like Flanders would also be great! Bring attention to women’s cycling and make exciting races together!

WCA: What do you think is the biggest challenge women in cycling are facing today?

Iris: Prejudices.

WCA: What do you think you can do to help women’s cycling grow?

Iris: Show that prejudices are not correct. We can do that first of all to race at a high level and make our races exciting. Then I can (and we all can) use every kind of media to show how we are racing and training so people understand we are serious professionals and our sport is interesting. Also I think it is important to be easy accessible for media, race organizers, sponsors and girls and women who are interested in joining us.
So, in summery; race hard and use every platform available to tell people about myself and our sport!

WCA: What do you like to do in your off season?

Iris: Eat lots of apple-pie. Travel around with a backpack instead of a bike. Work as a designer. Spend time with friends and family.

WCA: What are some of your goals outside of the sport?

Iris: Develop myself as a designer, in product as well in graphic design. Extend my label IRIS Concept & Design.

WCA: Are you currently involved with any philanthropic or community organizations? If so, explain:

Iris: Yes, I was recently elected to the WCA Board of Directors.

WCA: How did you find out about WCA?

Iris: Emma Pooley

Iris Slappendel is the 2014 Dutch National Road Race Champion. You can find out more about her at
twitter: @irisslappendel

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