Getting to Know the Speedy & Determined First-Year Elite Siel van der Velden

Siel van der Velden is just 19, but her speed and determination fit someone much older. The Belgian-born racer landed herself on the final two World Cup podiums of the season last fall in Snowshoe, USA, for her final two races as a junior after crashing at the majority of the World Cup races last season. Now that she’s found an impressive pace, she’s making the jump to the elites and was one to watch over the weekend as she tested herself at the top level, though unfortunately a crash leading up to the race took her out of the final round. We can’t wait to see what she can do when she does stay on her bike. We caught up with Siel to learn a bit more about this under-the-radar but undeniably fast up-and-comer.

Who is Siel van der Velden?

My name is Siel Van der Velden I’m 19 years old and I ride for Commencal Vee.

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I was born in Belgium and I have lived in the south of France for almost 16 years in a little village called Mormoiron.

How did you start mountain biking?

I started mountain biking when I was 11 thanks to my brother and dad, I always wanted to do what they did. I also did BMX with my brother before doing downhill.

Who are your sponsors?

My team is Commencal Vee and my sponsors are @commencalbikes, @veetireco, @commencallifestyle, @100percent_bike, @crankbrothers, @vhs.mtb, @planete2roues, @galfer_brakes, @burgtec, @industry_nine, @invisiframe, @kingud (products and @verbier) bike park). I couldn’t have asked for better sponsors!!

What bike(s) do you ride?

I ride a Commencal Supreme V4 and we will soon have the new Commencal Supreme V5!!

What does a typical day look like for you?

I trained a lot this off season, way more than the previous seasons. In the week it’s gym, road bike, enduro, pump track… and on the weekends it’s downhill and enduro moto with my dad.

What riding achievements are you most proud of?

I’m proud of my jumping skills, thanks to my brother and my teammates for pushing me.

What are your strengths?

My track strengths are fast and dry tracks with jumps. I also have good people surrounding me (my family, team and friends) which I consider to be a strength.

What are your weaknesses?

My weakness is my mental but I’m working hard on it. This sport is so mental!

How did you get on the Commencal Nobl / Commencal Vee team?

I got into the Commencal Nobl and now Commencal Vee team thanks to Matteo Iniguez and Antoine Pierron. I read in Big Bike Magazine an article about them, and they said that they would like to help some guys for the upcoming season so I asked Matteo if I could send my CV and he said yes of course. A few weeks later I got the answer that I could join their team and suddenly one of my dreams came true. It means soo much for me to be a part of the Commencal Vee team, they are the best.

What’s the best part of being a downhill racer?

The best part of being a downhill racer is doing a good result. It’s like a big thank you to all the hard work you did during the off season and a thank you to all the persons involved and who believed in you! And of course having the opportunity to travel, meet new people and ride new tracks is also something incredible.

What’s the hardest part of being a downhill racer?

The hardest part of being of a downhill racer for me is staying strong mentally when nothing goes as planned.

Where is your favorite place to ride?

One of my favorite places to ride in France is in les Portes du Soleil like in Morzine/Chatel/Morgin (in the summer) and Brioude (in the winter).

Who or what inspires you?

My friends, my brother and of course Myriam Nicole are my inspirations.

What do you enjoy doing away from cycling?

Off the bike, I love being with friends, fam and dog, going on holiday, shopping and other girly things…

What do you do think about the future of downhill racing?

The future of downhill racing is looking good! The bikes are getting better, and the athletes are going faster and faster, the level is super high in both categories, men and women. it’s super impressive!

What does the future hold for you?

I don’t know what the future holds for me but I have a dream and I’m not giving up until I get it.

Follow along on Instagram at @sielvandervelden.


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