World Championship: Almost a home race for Netherlands’ Koen de Kort
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Monday, September 27, 2010

World Championship: Almost a home race for Netherlands’ Koen de Kort

by Ben Atkins at 6:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Skil-Shimano rider looking forward to racing in his girlfriend’s city

koen de kortFor Dutch rider Koen de Kort, Sunday’s World Championships will be almost like a home race. The 28-year-old from Gouda, north east of Rotterdam, has spent a number of winters in Melbourne, where he met his Australian girlfriend.

For the Skil-Shimano rider though, even though he made the long list for the Netherlands team, he was still not sure about making the final nine-man squad. Dutch head coach Leo van Vliet initially named six confirmed riders with nine names, including de Kort, to fight for the other three.

Ninth place in this month’s Tour of Britain, including fourth place on stage 2 in Stoke-on-Trent and third place on stage 4 to Teignmouth, will have helped his cause though.

“[I felt my chance was] about fifty-fifty and I was really happy when I eventually heard I was going,” said de Kort. “It’s very special to represent your country at a world championship anyway, and getting the chance to ride in Melbourne, where my girlfriend Kaitlin comes from, makes it very special indeed.”

Despite being a foreign rider, he expects to get plenty of local support.

“My sister is doing a work placement in Australia too,” he said, “so she’ll come to watch and my girlfriend’s family and various Australian friends will also be lining the route. I’ll certainly hear my name.”

Regular visits to the area have given de Kort a bit of local knowledge and he has had the chance to ride the course before most other riders. With many riders expressing surprise at the toughness of a course that many described as one for sprinters, de Kort already knew how tough it would be,

“I rode the route a couple of times last year,” he said. “Some people think it’s designed for sprinters, but I’m not so sure.

“If there are a couple of countries able and willing to control the race from start to finish, a bunch sprint is possible, but I don’t expect one. The route is quite tough. It includes a two-kilometre climb with some really steep sections. The last section is especially tough. I used 39/23 there in training. If we go round a couple of times at speed I don’t expect the genuine sprinters to be able to get to the front.”

As to his personal role on his ‘home-from-home’ course, de Kort will have to see what plans van Vliet has for the Netherlands team.

“I have to wait for the team meeting of course,” he said, “but I think the Dutch team will try to make a tough race of it. That means attacking a lot. I don’t yet know what my exact role is going to be. In the Tour of Britain things went well. I’m in form.

“My sprint is going well too,” he added, “so if I’m still in there in the final stages and it comes down to a sprint between a small group of riders I should be able to do quite well.”

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