SIMON VAN VELTHOOVEN has won a silver medal in the men’s kilo time trial at the opening night of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Belarus.
The Olympic bronze medal winner, who was third in last year’s champs, overtook all but the French winner over two scintillating laps to set one of the fastest ever times recorded at sea level in the penultimate ride.
“It was great. I knew I was on a good time but it didn’t feel sensational,” Van Velthooven told Fairfax NZ.
“The person who beat me today rode a sensational time which was a sea level world record I think. To come out after seeing that was a little bit daunting. I knew it could be beaten but unfortunately I couldn’t beat it today,” said the 24-year-old.
“I put it all out there. I am still really happy with a silver medal. Francois has been doing the kilo for 10 years now and it’s taken him that long to win the world title. There’s still plenty of future for me in it.”
Fellow Kiwi Eddie Dawkins was briefly at the top of the table but eventually drifted out to eighth.
Van Velthooven went from 11th after the opening lap to eighth, and then shot up the leaderboard over the final two laps.
“To be honest I just go as fast as I can which is why they call me the Rhino. It wasn’t a conservative start, it was me going as hard as I could. It’s just that Francois is such a good starter which is something I need to work on.
“My third and fourth laps were the fastest. I do love the lactose tolerance side of it and really hurting myself which is probably half the reason I love doing it because of the pain involved.”
The team sprint squad are in line for success today.
“The sprint boys looked at each other and agreed that we can all win medals here this week and maybe world titles. It’s a great start and I hope it will be a good kick-start.