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Jan van Berkel

Year of birth: 1986

Height: 179cm
Weight: 68kg
Hometown: Winkel ZH, Switzerland.

Jan has battled his way up in long distance triathlon. In 2015, he finished runner-up at his home race the IM Zurich. The victory at IM Zurich remains one of his major goals for the future. In the same year, the Swiss finished 7th at the IM 70.3 World Championships in Austria and qualified for his first ever participation at the legendary IM Hawaii.


Rider's Talk


What is your Triathlon background? When and why did you start?
At an early age in school I was swimming and playing basketball. Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Triathlon Olympic Champion, grew up in the same little village as I did and she played on my mum’s basketball team. The step from swimming to triathlon was close, my first race was the Swiss National Champs where I raced in a basketball shirt from the US Dream Team and finished second.

What was your reason for picking Triathlon?
I can’t deny that the immediate success was very motivating for me as a kid. Today, I feel that aside from the success it’s as much about the emotions during a race that make this sport my passion. 

What’s your favorite part about riding for SCOTT?
SCOTT really takes care of its riders and is not just a sponsor. They help you to become faster. Plus, as a Swiss athlete I’m very proud to ride on a bike that has been engineered in Switzerland. 

What are your future goals?
As a Zurich native my primary goal is to win IM Zurich. Additionally, I would like to achieve a Top 10 result at the World Championships in Hawaii. 

What keeps you going during the off season, if you ever have an off season?
I enjoy cross country skiing. It keeps me fit and at the same time I get a different experience and energy.

What are your favorite Triathlons - where are we going to find you training most often?
IM Switzerland – it’s my hometown race. I know every corner and every pothole on the course and my friends and family are there cheering. When I was racing ITU, the World Champ Series race in Hamburg was absolutely amazing with unbelievable crowds. And then there is the Inferno Triathlon in the Swiss Alps. It’s the complete opposite of what we normally do! You ride over scenic mountain passes next to the Eiger north face and run up a mountain peak of 3000m in the end.

What inspires you to keep going each season?
Being a professional triathlete, I’m living the dream. I feel like I haven’t achieved my full potential in training and racing and this challenge keeps me going.  

What music do you listen to when training or before a race?
I use classical music to get focused and to calm the nerves. In daily training I am not very picky, I use different kinds of music just to get a solid rhythm. 

Do you have a favorite pre-race food?
This has to be the Swiss pastry called Biberli! It’s a light, almond and flour based pastry that is very easy to digest, but gives you something to bite and has a very nice taste.

Do you have any funny habits that you have to do before you race?
I have a big fast food meal on Monday of race week. I don’t know if it’s the energy contained in such meals, but afterwards I feel ready to tackle a hard pre race week. 

When your season is over what is the food you have to have?
I don’t restrain myself and eat everything I want, even during race season. Swiss people love a good Fondue or Raclette during winter. I really enjoy these meals together with friends.