Now into his seventh season with Team dsm-firmenich PostNL, Niklas spent the period between 2018 and 2020 with the Development program before making the step up to the WorldTour with the Men’s program in 2021.
Niklas has been cycling from a young age and got into the sport through his family, with his grandfather, dad and older brother all active cyclists – so like any young kid, Niklas wanted to follow suit and give it a try. His first ever race was on a walking bike so in his own words he was “pretty young”, before he started taking it more seriously at around the age of six. From there he joined a local club and things snowballed, going to regional races then national and so on, to where he is now in the present day.
A competitive guy by nature, Niklas loves not only competing against other riders in the bunch, but also the process of being in competition with himself and trying to get better. He also likes the combination of structure and freedom that it gives.
“We get our training plans from the team but it’s then up to us to do them, and we can decide when to go out on the bike, so in that way you get freedom. It’s not a nine to five job and I really appreciate that luxury!”
Casting himself as a “direct”, “dominant” and “sociable” person, the team aspect of cycling is something Niklas finds favourable, especially given how tough the sport is. Being talkative and outgoing helped him integrate quickly into the team and that is something he then tries to help other guys with too – so that they can grow closer as a unit together. However, he concedes there are times you need to be blunt and direct.
“You need to be more direct and straight-up to achieve some goals as there are also times where things don’t work like planned or how you had hoped for, so it’s good to then be straight to the point with each other and not look for excuses.”
It’s exactly that open approach that Niklas thinks brings the team closer together and creates an environment and atmosphere where everybody can be involved and share their opinions in a good way and ultimately make each other better.
A self-reflective person, looking back to his younger years Niklas would give himself and any young aspiring cyclist the advice to “not take everything too serious, too quickly” as it is important to make sure that you love the sport for what it is, including the harder moments.
“It’s about finding a good balance with life and knowing when to push or when to be relaxed.”
When he’s not out racing or training then Niklas lives a “pretty simple life” and likes to spend good quality time with his family and friends, doing whatever activity they want, or practicing his coffee making skills.