Velthooven in top gear for Olympic challenge
Thu, 12 Jul 2012 6:50p.m.
By Dave Gooselink
Simon Van Velthooven's one of the country's top cycling medal prospects.
The 23-year-old won bronze at the World Champs in the kilo time trial.
He's also been tasked with leading home the Team Sprint to a fast finish in London.
“Twelve months ago I thought the only way I can go to the Olympics is to ride third wheel. So I trained for third wheel all year, and all the training benefited by the keirin racing and it's made me a lot more explosive,” Velthooven tells 3 News.
But he knows the Olympic version of the keirin will be a lot different from his time racing the pro circuit in Japan.
“I mean, it's all elbows and heads and everything. On the boards it's totally different. But when you're competing like that in the keirin, everything seems to slow down and you can read the racing a lot better.”
In contrast, the Olympic dreams of teammate Sam Webster took a hit this year.
The former Junior World Champion was relegated to reserve rider by selectors despite being in the trio that won bronze at the Worlds in April.
“It came as a bit of a shock, and there was a long time where I had to sort of come to grips with it. I didn't understand absolutely why. I felt like I did everything to earn myself a spot in the team,” says Webster.
He's still training with the team as a full travelling reserve, and is determined to stay focused.
“No, I haven't let the decision that was made by the selectors weaken my Olympic dream at all. I still have the exact same ambitions and goals that I've always had.”
Goals that may now have to wait until after London.
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