Van Velthooven claims silver at World Champs
Olympic bronze medallist Simon van Velthooven has stormed home to finish second in the men's kilo time trial on the opening night of finals at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Belarus.
Van Velthooven, third in last year's championships, produced a scintillating final two laps to finish in 1:00.86 and overtake all but the Frenchman Francois Pervis, who set one of the fastest times ever recorded at sea level of 1:00.221 in the penultimate ride.
Van Velthooven, who raced last as the top ranked rider, emulated the efforts of the legendary Harry Kent who gained New Zealand's first ever medal at the world championships when he placed second in the same event in 1970.
"It was great. I knew I was on a good time but it didn't feel sensational," Van Velthooven said.
"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."
Compatriot Eddie Dawkins, the eighth of 19 riders off, briefly went to the top of the table with his solid effort of 1:02.212 and eventually finished eighth fastest.
Van Velthooven was only 11th fastest after the opening lap and eighth at the halfway mark before setting the standard in the closing two laps when most others fade.
"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."
Van Velthooven said the team will be buoyed by today's medal and believes more success full follow the team sprint set for tomorrow.
"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.
Men's 1km Time Trial: Francois Pervis (FRA) 1:00.221, 1; Simon Van Velthooven (NZL) 1:00;86, 2; Joachim Eilers (GER) 1:01.450, 3. Also: Eddie Dawkins (NZL) 1:02.21, 8.