Klaas Groenen / International Business in Food and Flowers / Dutch cyclo-cross champion in the amateur category
Klaas Groenen (24) is a student of International Business in Food and Flowers at VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) in Velp. In addition to his busy studies and internships abroad, he is also a talented professional athlete. In early 2019, Klaas became Dutch cyclo-cross champion in the amateur category, after which he made the transition to the elite category. “My goals for the future? First I want to graduate and then I will see if I can earn a professional contract as a cyclo-cross rider!”
Hockey and cyclo-cross
“I still played hockey a few years ago”, says Klaas, who is from Boxtel in the province of Brabant. “However, annoying injuries threw a spanner in the works, after which I switched to cycling. I found that cyclo-cross went very well in particular. Former world champion Richard Groenendaal lived close to me at the time and I received some valuable advice from him.
“My greatest race was the Dutch Championship for amateurs in 2019, which I managed to win. However, the race had a hectic start: I shot out of my click pedal so I was the thirtieth to enter the field. Within one lap, I was among the first five riders again. In the final, I managed to stay ahead of the 2018 champion, Yannick Runhart and former pro Niels Wubben and ride to victory. After winning the Dutch title, I switched to the elite category. I now ride with the pros and I am part of a training team. I hope to secure a professional contract next year!”
International Business in Food and Flowers
“I have combined my studies with top-class sport since my third study year. It is not always easy, because I invest a great deal of time in my sport. The International Business in Food and Flowers course appealed to me for a variety of reasons. First of all, the study programme is very broad. The basis is the same as that of a normal business administration course but the focus, for example, the internships and assignments, are geared towards the agricultural sector. It is the perfect combination of my personal interests and a good education for me."
Canada and Kazakhstan
“The highlight of the study programme was my internship in the second year. I had always wanted to go to Canada one day to work on a 'megafarm' and I managed to do this. It really was the best time of my life! For my graduation assignment, I also went abroad for six months. Living in Kazakhstan, I carried out research for a company that produces fries on a large scale in Europe and which saw businesses opportunities in Central Asia. I have now completed all my courses and I all I have l left to do is write the report for my thesis. I expect to graduate at the beginning of January, and I will subsequently focus entirely on sport!”