Cyclist's family hopeful

23:40, Aug 01 2012
van Velthooven
Race ready: Blenheim couple Wim and Riet van Velthooven get ready to watch their grandson Simon van Velthooven race for New Zealand in the men’s track cycling sprint at the Olympics tomorrow morning.

She will be getting up at 3am tomorrow, but Riet van Velthooven said she will struggle to watch her grandson Olympic cyclist Simon van Velthooven race.

Blenheim couple Riet and Wim van Velthooven are preparing for an early start watching Simon race for New Zealand in the men's track cycling sprint event beginning with qualifying at 3.15am.

However Mrs van Velthooven said she usually ended up watching her grandson's races with her hands over her face from the tension. She is hoping her nerves will not stop her resting as the pair plan to sleep this afternoon to prepare for the early wake up call.

With the cycle team in the midst of hard training and preparation they had only had the odd text message from Simon before he arrived in London on Tuesday, but when he did get in touch he was optimistic about his chances on the track, Mr van Velthooven said.

"He's ready and he wants to win a medal. He's great mates with [British world champion sprint team member] Sir Chris Hoy, but he doesn't want him to win, he told him: ‘This time it's my turn'."

Regardless of his performances, though, Mrs van Velthooven said the pair were very proud of their grandson simply qualifying for the Games.

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"He said to me: ‘I will bring you a medal', but even if he doesn't, I will still have a glass of wine after [the races]."

Six of their family including Simon's parents are in London for the games and with the rest of the family spread around the country, the van Velthoovens will be watching on their own, but they said the phone would be busy after the races.

With the sprint over, the couple will then have three days to recover before Simon competes again in the keirin on August 7.

The men's team sprint qualifying will begin at 3.15am (NZ Time) with the first round at 4.45am and the finals at 5.15am tomorrow.

The Marlborough Express