Leontien Zijlaard van Moorsel is one of the most successful and versatile female cyclists of modern times, competing in both track and road racing events. She was born in Boekel, the Netherlands in 1970. One of the best looking female riders both on the velodrome and in the peloton, she is well known for her make-up, lipstick and painted nails.
Between 1990 and 1993, she won 4 world championships. During that time she also won the French Tour de l’Aude Cycliste Féminin” twice before suffering from depression and anorexia nervosa in 2004. She then made a comeback in the late 90’s overcoming her mental ill-health to win a further 5 world championship races between 1998 and 2003. At the Sydney 2000 Olympics she was one of the most victorious athletes, winning three gold medals and one silver in various cycling disciplines.
“This year I want to break the World Hour Record. I have accomplished a lot, but that I don’t have. When there is something missing on my list of results I want to have it.” -Leontien Zijlaard van Moorsel, 2001.
She successfully defended her Olympic time trial crown in Athens despite falling in the last lap of the women’s Olympic road race three days earlier. She also holds the current world hour record; snatching Jeannie Longo’s former record by cycling 46.065 kilometres in one hour at the Mexico City velodrome back in October of 2003 and acheiving another one of her goals…
That makes quite a racing resumé: a total of 9 world championship gold medals, 4 olympic golds, 2 french tours and no less than 39 national Dutch championship races!