KMC Ridley Mountain bike Racing Team have started theOlympic season in Schaijk, the Netherlands for their first kilometers towards Paris 2024


Friday January 12th, 196 days to the start of the Olympic Games in Paris, the
international UCI Elite Mountainbike Team managed by World’s 1st Olympic
Champion Mountainbike Bart Brentjens, was officially presented to a selected
group of guests. The theme of the presentation was #backtobasic.
The riders and staff of the KMC Ridley MTB Racing Team, welcomed their sponsors,
suppliers, relations and media at ‘The Barn’, a typical American barn situated in
the forests of Schaijk, the former hometown of Bart. In this village, where the 1st
Gold Olympic Medal has been brought to, the team was presented by hosts Rob
Harmeling and Bart Brentjens.
Rob Harmeling (the Netherlands) is a former road cyclist with a long cycling history,
(World Champion 100 km Time Trial , stage winner of the Tour de France Bordeaux
1992, Olympic athlete in 1988 Seoel). He participated 2 times in the famous African
mountainbike stage race Cape Epic. Rob is founder of Sportsbalm and director of
Sportgeluk. Currently Rob is Directeur Sportive with Cycling team Tour de Tietema.
Rob and Bart introduced the mechanics, soigneurs, truck drivers and riders to the
audience. After the team presentation, together with the guests, the first kilometers
to Paris Olympic Games were made on the mountainbike. Riding part of the
training lap that Bart rode in preparation for Atlanta in 1996. The forests around
Schaijk proved to be the ideal preparation back in ’96. Close to home. Back to
Jeu de Boules (petanque) was also played under the leadership of local Jeu de
Boules players, a relatively major sport that unfortunately did not become and
Olympic sport.
The 2024 Team riders are:
Janika Loiv – Estonia – Elite Women
Yana Belomoina – Ukraine – Elite Women
Lotte Koopmans – The Netherlands – Elite Women
Martins Blums – Estland – Elite Men
Gunnar Holmgren – Canada – Elite Men
Sasha Hudyma – Ukraine – U23 Men
Freek Bouten – The Netherlands – U23 Men
Rens Teunissen van Manen – The Netherlands – U23 Men
The mountainbike season 2024 shows a full program starting with the Team Training
camp in South Africa following by the Tankwa Trek starting at February 8.
The main goal this year is different for every rider. Latvian Martins Blums qualified
already for the Olympic Games in Paris. Martins will be the first Latvian ever to
compete at the XCO Olympics.
Our new Elite rider Gunnar Holmgren from Canada finished 5th in the XCO
Olympic Test Event last September.
For Janika Loiv and Yana Belomoina the main goal is qualifying for the Olympics,
also youngster Sasha Hudyma is eager to get qualified for Paris. Sasha is still young
and U23 rider, but very focused and with Olympic ambitions.
Lotte Koopmans, who also works as an emergency doctor in the hospital next to
her sportive career, has the UCI World Cups, the National, European and World
Championships to focus on.
Our two new young riders Freek Bouten and Rens Teunissen van Manen are both
very talented Dutch riders. For Freek it will be his first year U23. Rens already raced
some UCI World Cups with the Team last year. They have both high ambitions and
their ultimate goal is participate in the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028.
Teammanager Bart Brentjens:
“I have to say that I am very happy and proud of this Team. On the staff, the riders,
on our sponsors and our suppliers. We do this together.
To achieve big goals, you need each other. It is a challenging route and great to
get the best out of yourself and the team. Teamwork is important, especially in
difficult times. I like the diversity in our team.
It was very special to have everyone together here in Schaijk. That felt very good.
We often go far afield, but today we went back to basics. We also wanted to tell
the riders that you don’t always have to look far. Often everything is within reach.
We are looking forward to this Olympic season and we are ready for the first
training camp and races.”


The Olympic Mountainbike races in Paris will be on July 28 and 29