Student - June 21, 2012

First job: cycling pro

Wageningen student Sanne van Paassen has made a good move in her cycling career. She joins the Rabobank women's team this week.

On 19 June, Sanne van Paassen will join ex-sprinter Jeroen Blijlevens' road team. Which means she has landed a job before she has graduated. 'I don't have to get a job besides the cycling, no', Van Paassen laughs. In two months' time she is due to complete her Master's in Management, Economics and Consumer Studies, after seven years at university. She is now writing her dissertation about markets segments based on profitability. Something quite different to taking the lead in cycling team or cleaning your bike after a training tour.
Van Paassen says she had a great time with Brainwash, the sponsorship team that she created around her in 2010. 'But we wanted to professionalize as a team. The men from Brainwash went looking for a solution, and that was the Rabobank.' Brainwash, a chain of hairdressers, will be co-sponsor of the Rabobank team for three years.
So Sanna's hairstyle won't be a problem. But what is going to be more professional now? 'The supervision. For example, that my accommodation for races is arranged in advance so I can concentrate on the race on the day.'  She also hopes to be able to make use of the knowledge the Rabobank has built up about racing cycling. For the rest, she can now follow a better programme of road cycling, in preparation for the cross-country season. 'With better cyclists around you, you perform better yourself.'
Van Paassen will meet another Wageningen graduate at the Rabobank: Annemiek van Vleuten, an Animal Sciences graduate and the road team's trump card, along with Marianne Vos. 'Yes, it's funny that I've ended up in Annemiek's team. We know each other from Wageningen.'
Cross-country remains Van Paassen's true passion. 'My heart is not in road cycling and my qualities come out better off-road.' Her aim for next winter is a good position in the world cup, which she won at the beginning of 2011. 'And of course, coming top in the world cross country championships in the United States.'