Burgemeester Sharon Dijksma Ploegenpresentatie Vuelta 2022

Toespraak burgemeester Sharon Dijksma

Vredenburgplein, 18 augustus 2022

To all of you, present here today,

Bienvenido a Utrecht! Just one more night of sleep and La Vuelta Holanda will start. The time has come - finally! After 2 extra years of waiting and it wás about time!

But actually we have been waiting much longer for the Vuelta! Let me go back in time for a moment. 7 years ago, it was the sweltering summer of twenty-fifteen [2015], the Tour de France riders whizzed under the Dom tower. Unforgettable images! And you may also remember how hot it was then too.

Under that hot sun, a number of people were already quietly daydreaming. They thought: "We have already had the Giro - which was a great success - now the Tour caravan is passing through the Netherlands - also fantastic - and what if we could organise the Vuelta in the Netherlands as well?"

You can imagine that the people here in Utrecht were immediately enthusiastic! The first city in the world to welcome the 3 major cycling tours. And, since last week - talk about good timing - was named most bike-friendly city in the world. Standing here today is a proud mayor, who wishes to stress that this is not just the story of a city that this year, in twenty-twenty-two [2022], is also celebrating the fact that it was
ninehundred [900] years ago that Utrecht first received city rights. Indeed móre perfect timing!

Celebrating a party is not something you do on your own. And a top international event is something you organise together. And if there is one thing we are good at as a small country, it is getting big things done. And: we have done it again! Breda,
's-Hertogenbosch, Utrecht, the provinces of Noord-Brabant and Utrecht, the thirty-one [31] municipalities where the riders pass through, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, all participating companies and social partners involved joined forces to make La Vuelta Holanda possible.

At times, La Vuelta Holanda became a monster challenge that could be compared to a tough Pyrenees stage. But we did it! And how! Because in addition to world-class riders, we can also witness a world first today. La Vuelta Holanda is the only major cycling organisation to have an advertising caravan that is 100% green. So if, apart from cycling, you also love nature and want to take care of this planet, you have come to the right place.

I would like to thank all the partners for making this top event possible. Here, alongside a proud mayor of Utrecht, stands a very happy and grateful Supervising Mayor, so I will - if you don't mind - continue with giving words of thanks and compliments. On behalf of all participating partners in the Vuelta Holanda, I would like to thank the organisation of La Vuelta, which of course I should do in Spanish: Muchas gracias por vuestra paciencia y confianza!

To all of you, present here today, dear cycling fans,

From "Vamos a la playa" we now go to "Vamos a la Vuelta!" and how wonderful it is to see a full house here in Utrecht today. I hope you are as excited about it as we are. The next few days it will be no different in Breda, 's-Hertogenbosch and the municipalities where the Vuelta will pass through - both along the route and in all the activities that are organised.

Will La Vuelta Holanda be a fiësta? Most definitely!

But this cycling fiesta is of course not complete without its key players, the riders. High time therefore to introduce them to you and I would say: give them a thunderous applause.

I wish you lots of fun with the Vuelta today and this weekend - wherever you are along the route and perhaps even in Spain.

Un. Dos. Tres…vamos!