It was meant to be!
I was born on 13th May 1987 in s-Hertogenbosch, North Brabant. Ever since I can remember I’ve had a love of sports, from Ice Speed Skating to Rollerblading to Cycling, I’ve always wanted to compete! I first caught the cycling bug when I was 6, following my brother Anton to races had made me eager to jump on the bike and race as well! I got my first bike aged 6 and was racing by the time I was 8, it was meant to be!
‘Straight from the beginning Marianne was passionate about cycling. We always followed the Tour de France and I remember one time that the Tour was coming through Den Bosch and we managed to get into the riders area. Marianne was so excited to get some autographs of her favourite riders. When she first started racing many people pointed out her talents, she was strong but also very fast and she had a mentality to get the best out of herself. At a young age she was winning lots f different races, many of them against guys!’ Father Henk Vos
As much as I loved all the sports I did as a child I made the choice to focus solely on cycling and push myself to see how far I could go. When I won my first rainbow jersey in 2004, the thought of a career as professional cyclist first crossed my mind. There weren’t many girls who went professional on a full time basis but I decided to give it a go and try my best
After turning professional I had initial success across a number of different disciplines. In 2006 I won my first World Title in the elite category on both Road and Cross. However, it was my Road World Championship victory which made the huge difference in my life. I had got into the sport not to become famous or rich but because I was a passionate cyclist. Suddenly after my World Title people were discussing my hair, how I spoke, how I dressed and everything else! It made it very hard to live a normal life and stay true to myself. The first 2 years were particularly hard, however I’ve found how to handle this pressure and turn it into a positive.
"At school Marianne was often very quiet and reserved. The first time she was honoured in front of her entire school she wished the ground would just swallow her up. After winning her first World Title she had to get used to constant attention and the media spotlight. To begin with she gave short concise responses not wanting to open up in public. However, over time she has become more passionate and confident and is now the perfect ambassador for women's cycling. It's a transformation we are all delighted to have witnessed!" Friend Marlies
In 2008 I went to my first Olympics and came away with a Gold medal from the Points Race. The Olympics is the pinnacle of sport and to have a Gold medal round my neck was simply amazing, it made up for my disappointment in the road race. The World Championships in 2011 was one of the hardest moments in my cycling career, it was the 5th time in a row I’d been second in the road race. It made me more determined than ever and was crucial motivation for 2012.
I couldn’t wish for a better life
2012 was a big year for me. I had trained a lot during the winter in special preparation for all the challengers ahead, I was ready for London! Everything came together perfectly on the day. The weather was horrible and the race went to plan. It was a hard race and it allowed me to force a break on Box Hill. When I crossed the finish line with my arms aloft I couldn’t believe it, it was an unforgettable experience. When everything comes together on days like that, you can’t wish for more. An Olympic title changes a lot and it gave me the opportunity to speak out about women’s cycling. My dream is to make cycling more accessible and popular for women, alongside the efforts and visions of many others new and exciting initiatives such as La Course and the Women’s Tour of Britain have been launched.
‘Marianne visited our office as a junior accompanied by her father. From the beginning we knew she was special but nobody could have predicted quite how she’s turned out. The way she has continued to train and develop her racing is a great inspiration to others. However, she’s still the same girl as we first met! It’s been a privilege to watch her grow and mature, day by day. She will always be a great inspiration to us and we believe in her dream to give women a stage to shine. Her energy and passion will help many people to build that dream together. Managers Rik van Dongen and Orlando van den Bosch.
I couldn’t wish for a better life, my passion is my career and I have the opportunity to really change something in women cycling. I love racing, I love training, I love inspiring and crucially I still love riding my bike! The 2014 season will be important for my preparation towards Rio but also for the development of my team Rabo-Liv. Together with all the girls and staff we are all developing l to become stronger as a team. The biggest goal of this season is the Team Time Trial where we want to battle for the world title.