Olympic Road Race: Terpstra acknowledges that climbers must break sprinters
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Road Race: Terpstra acknowledges that climbers must break sprinters

by Kyle Moore at 4:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Olympics
Dutch team riding without a true sprinter, likely to be on the attack

Niki TerpstraOn the eve of the Olympic road race, popular opinion still sways back and forth, unable to determine whether the gold medal will be claimed out of a bunch sprint or via a lasting attack.

UCI president Pat McQuaid believes that the race could prove too difficult for sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, but the fast men could have their day if the teams of the climbers are unable to consolidate against them.

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) acknowledged that for he and his Dutch team-mates to have a chance, they need to steal the race from the sprinters. Terpstra is taking on London along with Dutch mates Lars Boom, Robert Gesink, Sebastian Langeveld, and Lieuwe Westra. The Netherlands could look to team with other squads without a true sprinter, such as Belgium, Switzerland, and Russia to force a selection that does not include Cavendish, André Greipel, or Matt Goss.

“So we have to make the race harder,” Terpstra told De Telegraaf. “It has to be done. I rode the [Box Hill] climb a few times and rode it really hard. The amount of climbing is really disappointing.”

Upon leaving London, riders embark on a 15-kilometre circuit completed nine times, with each going up Box Hill. After the final circuit, riders still have more than 40km to the finish back in London, giving any sprinters who have fallen off the lead a chance to get back on. For Terpstra and the Dutch squad, not allowed them to reattach will be the key.

“We just need to break the sprinters,” he continued. “The Netherlands definitely have an interest in benefitting from this, but so do a few other countries. So we must hit out on the course early and hard. I’m confident.”

And though the opening ceremony to the London Olympics is a closely guarded secret until the start of the event, Terpstra got a surprise sneak peek at a portion of the show, a full three days beforehand.

On Tuesday, as the Dutchman was flying into London, the route of his flight took him in a path over the Olympic stadium, and Terpstra got a bird’s eye view of a rehearsal of a laser light show.

“Then it was goosebumps on my arms,” he added. “Four years ago [it was the same] in Beijing too.”


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