At 19 years old, American Skylar Schneider already has a 15-year career behind her. She is the younger of the Schneider sister duo and comes over to Boels-Dolmans from US domestic team ISCorp-SmartChoice. In 2018, she’ll be the youngest rider to wear the orange Boels-Dolmans outfit and is hoping to continue what is already an impressive career.
Schneider discovered her love for bikes with BMX. With both parents into cycling and a sister and brother doing BMX, Schneider was only four when she first entered a BMX race. “A full race start to finish was like thirty seconds, so I remember that in between the races, all the girls my age would play dolls and then race and keep playing. It’s good memories.”
Schneider travelled the country for her races and holds fond memories especially of the yearly New Year’s Eve race in Indianapolis, where the gate would drop for the first race at midnight. “I really fell in love with BMX and the BMX scene,” Schneider said. “I do miss it sometimes and I’ll maybe give it a try again someday. It’s a good start anyway, because of bike handling skills, which translate to road.”
A few years into her BMX career, Schneider tried out other bike disciplines too. “I kind of transitioned into some track and cyclocross,” she said. “And then when I was twelve, I think, I got onto the road and dropped everything else. I really fell in love with road cycling.”
Using the other disciplines purely for training purposes in winter now, road cycling is where Schneider’s future lies. And she already achieved some impressive results, like individual time trial bronze in the 2015 Junior World Road Championships and a silver medal in the Junior Worlds road race a year later. Her most recent win was in stage six of the 2017 Thüringen Rundfahrt, where she won the sprint of an eleven-rider lead group, after being out front the entire day.
“We went into the stage hoping that the team could set me up for the sprint,” said Schneider. “But we also had other goals, because we had the best young rider’s jersey. We just had to use the best strategy and I was confident in my skills at the time. I remember the director was in my ear with maybe 5k to go and said: ‘Alright Skylar, get it done.’ And it was perfect.”
It was during her spell in Europe with the US national team that Schneider was first contacted to gauge interest about her plans for 2018. “I did a race with Megan in Belgium and discussions came about as to what I was doing this year,” Schneider explained. “I wasn’t sure yet. From there, we got in touch and here I am.”
Representing Boels-Dolmans is like a dream come true for Schneider. “A couple of years ago, after the World Championships in Doha, I did an interview and they asked me: what is your dream team?,” Schneider explained. “I said it was Boels-Dolmans. So when I got the e-mail that I was on the team for real, it really felt like a dream. It still does a bit. I’m definitely star struck when I’m with the team.”
It will be a complete change to Schneider’s life in 2018, becoming a fulltime pro in a European team. “I’ll probably spend a lot more time living in Europe,” she reflected. “Getting away from my sister and my dad, who was the DS for my team in the past three years, is one of the hardest parts, but we’ll still be in touch and be supporting each other.”
Schneider’s up for the big adventure and is looking forward to the year ahead. “Bigger races, bigger goals and expectations, I’m really excited,” she said. “I always dreamed of coming to Europe. I’ll make Europe my home.”