Erik Dekker – A cycling great from the Netherlands

Erik Dekker – A cycling great from the Netherlands

The adventure of racing in the pro peloton

Erik Dekker is no ordinary cyclist. Nor is he simply a former member of the pro peloton. Whilst this modest and quietly spoken cyclist from the Netherlands, is part of the constantly growing group of former pro riders; his Palmares speaks volumes – even in a country with such a rich cycling heritage. A champion at junior level, coming from a family deeply embedded in the cycling scene, with siblings all racing, and his parents officiating, Erik went on to ride and claim the silver medal in the 1992 summer Olympics.

Entering the professional ranks wasn’t straightforward though, as teams struggled with sponsorship that year. Thankfully though, he was chosen for the Buckler-Colnago team, which evolved into the amazing Rabobank team, that dominated so many races during the period. Wearing their colors, Erik rode to several great wins, including Amstel Gold, Tour of the Basque, Ronde van Nederland, Road Cycling World Cup, the National Time Trail title... and, in 2001, the Dutch Sports Personality of the year. Oh, did we mention the 4 stages of the Tour de France, that Erik also won in a glittering career, cut short by injury.

These days, having worked deeply within the pro cycling world as a Director Sportive, Erik rides simply for pleasure, and organizes cycling tours in Holland and to Spain – his favorite place to ride, and where he now has a house. Exploring so many different places on a bike, without the pressure of racing; every day in the mountains, or maybe one day in Spain, then Holland, then Belgium. Exploring different areas is what cycling is all about; and Erik doesn’t miss that feeling when, as a pro rider, every pedal stroke is critical, and you’re always thinking ‘how does it feel, the next race.’

Winning Amstel Gold

Speaking with Erik, he loved the atmosphere of that time though. Rabobank was probably the best organized team of the period and looks back to a very interesting career and adventure, and the excitement of it all. Recalling when he won Amstel Gold, he tells me how he just rode towards the front, in the wind, feeling strong and knowing that he was capable:

“Amstel Gold was very amazing. I was in very good shape. in the two weeks, I’d ridden Tour of Flanders, second. I knew that I was a favorite. I had to survive. One point, I saw ahead, and others were busy defending Lance Armstrong. I had to close the gap alone, and I did. To win the race, and in my own country – wow! Moments like this are forever!”

Classics races were a favorite for Erik, despite being a champion TT racer. He loved the style of racing, with less control, and where he constantly had to improvise and make up your plan on the spot.

Changes to cycling shoes

It was, however, a different period, and the kit and equipment were vastly different – less technical and less refined. Erik recalls the shoes being extremely narrow and uncomfortable; especially for his own wide feet. He tells me that in his early racing days:

“Shoes were just shoes. In the Olympics, I rode with a very narrow shoe. I have very wide feet, but I had no choice of shoes. Thankfully, eventually, Lake could provide me with a wider shoe. Know the feeling, it was amazing and different; more comfortable, better performance – faster. I’ve been with Lake ever since.”

Listening to great riders such as Erik, it puts into perspective the things that we at Lake try to bring to all cyclists: a stiff sole, to feel comfortable and good, with the foot able to breathe. These are the things, as Erik says, that lead to improved performance on the bike; and that’s why they’re so important to us at Lake. Erik’s current choice of shoes is our new CX20R road cycling shoe.

CX20R with ultimate adjustability

The CX20R wide fit cycling shoe is made from Clarino Microfiber and a high breathability mesh. This ultra minimal upper gives you superior breathability & ensures an extremely lightweight shoe, while maintaining form & structure where needed. The lightweight carbon sole ensures that all of your hard work is transferred into forward momentum too. It’s a shoe that seems to fit Erik perfectly, giving him the ultimate comfort, and allowing this former champion to turn the cranks without pain or discomfort.

Erik has relied on Lake for his shoes for many years; and we rely on great riders like him, feeding back their thoughts and helping us to continue to innovate and to produce the most comfortable, high performance cycling shoes in the world. Along the road since retiring from the peloton, Erik has competed at UCI Masters MTB XCO racing, becoming national champion in 2017 and also racing the tough and unrelenting trails of the Cape Epic MTB stage race. He’s done so, with Lake wrapping his feet in comfort and he’s a valuable ambassador for us, and one that we’re proud to be partnered with.

Whilst we can’t promise you the cycling adventures that Erik has enjoyed; we can promise you that when you choose Lake cycling shoes, you’ll be joining an a growing band of riders who recognize that maximum performance only comes from ultimate comfort, and together, these two elements equal happiness on 2 wheels – with what we believe, the world’s best cycling shoes.


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