Cycling: Kiwi claims silver at world champs

New Zealander Simon van Velthooven has claimed a silver medal in the kilo time trial at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Belarus this morning.

The Olympic bronze medallist finished 0.648 seconds behind Frenchman Francois Pervis, who finally won his first world title in the event after finishing on the podium in five of the last six years. Germany's Johann Eilers was in third.

The Manawatu rider who was ranked No 1 going into the race took out a bronze at the same event at last year's World Championships in Melbourne.

Riding last in the event, the pressure was on the New Zealander after Pervis set a blistering time.

"It was great out there today. I knew I was on a good time but I didn't feel sensational," van Velthooven said.

"It's a really nice track and a huge arena. They've put on a great show here but the person that beat me rode a sensational time and I think that's a sea level world record so to come out after seeing that was a little bit daunting but I knew it could be beaten and unfortunately I didn't beat it but I put it all out there and I'm still very happy with my silver medal."

Fellow New Zealander Eddie Dawkins finished in eighth place.

Van Velthooven said his strategy was to race as hard as possible.

"To be honest I just go as hard as I can, that's the reason they call me the Rhino. It wasn't very conservative, it was me going as hard as I could it's just that Francois is such a good starter. I do need to work on my start, working on my start does benefit my team sprint but as you could see my third and fourth laps were my fastest - that's my strong point.

"I do love the lactate tolerance side of it and really hurting myself. That's probably half the reason I like doing the kilo - is the pain involved."

Van Velthooven next races in the keirin, an event which he finished third at the London Games last year. He said the small New Zealand team in Minsk are all confident of performing well enough to get on the podium.

"Coming here we all looked at each other and agreed we could all win medals this week, let alone world titles. It's a great start ... the boys will be itching to race over the next couple of days."


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