The Dutch team sprinters were also dominant at the first race on their new and ultramodern bicycle. Roy van den Berg, Harrie Lavreysen, Jeffrey Hoogland and Matthijs Büchli extended their European title on Wednesday at the European Championships in Apeldoorn.
The new bike, which will only be given a name on Saturday evening, was even lifted off the stage after the golden race for a photo with the four riders. The black machine, where manufacturer Koga has invested at least half a million euros in development costs, was announced as the fastest track bike in the world, and thus an important part in the hunt for Olympic gold in Tokyo next year.
The first test in a competition on Wednesday evening in Omnisport Apeldoorn was more than successful. In the final of the team sprint, with a time of 42.151 seconds - just under three tenths above the world record of Germany - the Netherlands convincingly settled with Great Britain (42.822), making the team now double world and European champion.
"We have shown that we are in charge", Van den Berg grinned. "We have set three super times today and we have all done fantastic work," says Hoogland. "Of course it was expected that we would win, but we have again shown how good we are. And it can only get better towards Tokyo, because we can still grow."
The ultramodern bike of the team sprinter. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"The bike is definitely fine"
Final rider Hoogland rode a personal top time in the final and he immediately pointed to the new bike as an explanation. "I would like to believe that the bicycle has made a nice contribution. It is certainly in order."
At the European Championship there are only two bikes available, so starter Van den Berg did not use them yet. Büchli (who only took action in the qualifications), Lavreysen and Hoogland were able to ride.
"The bike is fantastic, he has certainly passed the test," smiled Lavreysen. "Mentally it helps that I can sit on this bike. But the biggest advantage is that you sit perfectly aerodynamically, that goes without saying. On the previous bike you were sitting a bit more upright."
The 'old' bicycle was developed for the 2008 Games and was therefore more than ten years old. The new model is longer, which makes it easier for riders to sit in a bent, aerodynamic position.
Moreover, he goes straight on "naturally," says Hoogland. "That is the biggest plus for me, you no longer have to correct if you make a big start."
The Dutch team sprinters captured EC gold. (Photo: Pro Shots)
'Wonder if it could be better'
The Dutch men know that other top countries in the direction of the Olympic Games will also come up with novelties in the field of material. The rich British will soon test their Olympic bike for the first time.
"But I am curious if it can be better than ours," says Hoogland. "In any case, we think there is no better way to go, a lot of money has been thrown in. We showed today that we have taken a step. Let those other countries come."
Hoogland and Lavreysen will be back in action in Apeldoorn in the first rounds of the sprint on Thursday. Hoogland is the reigning European champion on that part and Lavreysen the reigning world champion.