Re: [CR]Whatever happened to Tiemen Groen?

(Example: Events:Cirque du Cyclisme:2004)

Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 19:15:43 +0200
From: "Freek Faro" <khun.freek@gmail.com>
To: "Brian Booth" <swiftybjb@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [CR]Whatever happened to Tiemen Groen?
In-Reply-To: <20060911154226.68388.qmail@web56703.mail.re3.yahoo.com>
References: <20060911154226.68388.qmail@web56703.mail.re3.yahoo.com>
cc: Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org

Brian,

It seems appropriate that some answers should come from Tiemen's home country, the Netherlands. I will be quoting from the excellent yearly periodical Wielerexpress (published and written by Jan Zomer: http://www.wielerexpress.nl/), which is (unfortunately) completely written in Dutch. The 2004 issue (the 25th!) was in part dedicated to Tiemen Groen, and you can still order that issue.

'Tiemen Groen: the disappeared legend in South Africa' For many Tiemen Groen will remain a legend: he came from nothing, won everything, and disappeared. Since 1968 he does not want any contact with the media or the press. After his amateur period, Tiemen Groen becomes professional in 1967, with the Caballero team, for a salary of 17.000Guilders (about 8.000 euros). In that year he wins the national pursuit title and the pursuit world title by beating Hugh Porter. On the road his performances are below expectations, but he does win the Ronde van Katendrecht (criterium in Rotterdam) in a manner that participants and spectators are still talking about it. In the Grand Prix des Nations he starts like a rocket, but becomes ill and finishes 8th. Spring of 1968 he undergoes severe nose-surgery, which handicaps him the rest of the season. He rides some crietriums, doesn't feel capable to defend his national and world titles, takes part in Paris-Tours, which will be his last race. The man destined to attack the world record stops with the sport altogether and is not heard from again. *Sport & Sportwereld* writes: 'At the age of 22 the phenomenon has had enough. A position that thousands at that age can only dream of, he gives up just like that. The Frysian had golden legs, everyone said so. Tiemen Groen is the kind of guy that will say: 'so what'. If he only had had the character to suffer more, to dedicate himself more, he could have excelled in the big TT's and the world hour record. We would have liked to see that, Tiemen. But it's your own choice, if you want to find happiness elsewhere.Four world titles, and you just step away from it all. Not many people can do that'

In the interview in 2004, in his own words: 'When I decided to stop racing, that was the best decision I ever made. As an amateur I had a fantastic time, and I would do that again any time. But people mad me into a myth too early. I wasn't ready for that and will never be. The world of professional sport was just not my world.' Tiemen Groen is living in South Africa now.

Just another anecdote (I can't stop now!), to illustrate his uniqueness: Rini Wagtmans and Tiemen Groen are both riding the Ronde van Aalsmeer, a criterium. The two of them end up in front in the final stages of the races. Rini was riding well and was convinced he was going to win. He lead out in the sprint from far, Rni was fast and didn't fear Tiemen. At 200 meters from the line Tiemen comes riding next to Rini and says: 'We'll make it a close finish, OK?' Rini was at full sprint pace at that time, gave everything (he really wanted to win) but didn't stand a chance. Tiemen won with 'two fingers in his nose'.

Freek Faro Rotterdam Netherlands

2006/9/11, Brian Booth <swiftybjb@yahoo.com>:
>
> Seeing the recent Pic of the Day of Tiemen Groen
> reminded me of seeing him when he was World Amateur
> Pursuit Champion at a Wheelers Meet at Fallowfield in
> Manchester in the mid 60's (he was a 4 time champion,
> 3 amateur and 1 pro).
>
> He was a sight to behold, a big guy who dwarfed
> everyone else, with tons of power, probably similar to
> Ullrich, as Paul Sherwin likes to put it "a big diesel
> engine".
>
> Groen easily won the pursuit at the Wheelers Meet, but
> in the 10 mile race Eric Thompson stuck to his wheel
> like he was glued to it, no matter where Groen went,
> up the banking, down the banking, to the front, mid
> pack, whatever, Thompson would not leave his wheel,
> thinking no doubt that Groen would break away and give
> him a free ride to the finish where he could use his
> sprint to get the win.
>
> Well Groen got tired of everyone waiting for him to
> make his move and following him everywhere and just
> sat up with about 5 laps to go (with Thompson still on
> his wheel), some other riders broke away and by the
> time Thompson realized Groen was not going to chase,
> it was too late and the race was over.
>
> Groen was a total class act, perfection on the bike,
> and I often wondered over the years whatever happened
> to him, 4 years at the top and then he was gone (or so
> it seemed). Does anyone know what happened to him?
>
> Brian Booth
> Toronto, Canada
>
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