Iris Slappendel

It was never my dream to become a professional cyclist. It was always my dream to become either an illustrator, an architect or an artist, but when I discovered the road bike and my talent for this sport unfolded, it wasn’t possible to pursue both art academy and cycling. Since I still wanted to study design of some kind when I found out about Product Design Engineering and could study this alongside cycling, I decided to try and do both. I became better and better at racing a bike, and all of a sudden I was a professional bike racer. It’s strange the way things go sometimes.

I picked up cycling in 2002, when I was sixteen years old. The following year I won a bronze medal at the junior World Championships, and in 2004 I made my debut in the Elite ranks. Over the next twelve years I raced for multiple teams, including the (Garmin) Cervelo Test Team, Rabobank-Liv and, in my final year, for the US team United Healthcare pro cycling. I’ve been part of the best teams in the world and could contribute to teammates winning races like the Giro Rosa and multiple World Cups. My palmares are, perhaps, not filled with great victories, but every victory has its own special story. Winning the Vargarda World Cup, Sweden, in 2012 and the Dutch Championships in 2014 are definitely highlights. October 2016 I decided to retire from professional cycling.

Over the years that I competed, I learned that victories are not the most important part of cycling. The journey you undertake to get to that destination, the freedom the sport gives you and the physical effort that you put your body through are more important. Difficult moments are followed by beautiful moments. I’ve had the chance to travel and make friends all over the world. I’ve always done things my way, and I still do.

After retiring from pro cycling, October 2016, I committed to a new challenge and started my own brand of cycling apparel; I R I S – I Ride In Style. With the same dedication that I had as a rider, I have build this brand from the ground up. I use the knowledge, inspiration, and persistence I learned during my years as a cyclist, in the design process, and I will give everything I have to design the perfect product.

Career Highlights:

National Champion Road (2014)
Bronze National Championship ITT (2006, 2006)
Bronze World Championships ITT Junior Women (2003)
World Cup Open De Suède Vargarda, Sweden (2012)
World Cup ITT Open De Suède Vargarda, Sweden (2010)
Stage La Route de France (2014)
Stage International Thüringen Rundfahrt Der Frauen, Germany (2010)
3th GC Ladies Tour of Qatar (2011)


Outside Magazine – Meet the Billie Jean King of Cycling

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