Ellen van Dijk finally recaptured the world title in time trial in Belgium after eight years.

The 34-year-old Dutch wants to enjoy her victory much more in the next twelve months than last time.

After the very successful 2013 World Time Trial Championships, Van Dijk did not dare to wear her rainbow jersey during training.

She didn't want people to see that she was the best in the world.

And every day should be.

"I put too much pressure on myself after my first world title," said the Utrecht Monday in Bruges with a new rainbow jersey around her shoulders.

"I had the idea that I had to prove every race that I was the champion. It's a shame, so I couldn't enjoy it at all."

"I promised myself that if I were to become world champion again, I would do it very differently. Well, that will certainly be fine. Ha, I have to buy a lot of detergent for white laundry, because it will be a big job to keep my rainbow jerseys clean."

Ellen van Dijk achieved an average speed of 50.4 kilometers per hour in West Flanders.

Ellen van Dijk achieved an average speed of 50.4 kilometers per hour in West Flanders.

Photo: Getty Images

'I've been chasing this since 2013'

Since her world title in Florence, Van Dijk has won a laundry list of time trials.

She became European champion four times in a row (2016-2019), took gold at the European Games in 2015 and won the Dutch title in 2018.

But at the World Cup it was always impossible to repeat her performance of 2013, although she was on the podium in 2016 (silver), 2018 (bronze) and 2020 (bronze).

On Monday on a completely flat course in West Flanders, Van Dijk was again the best.

Over 30.3 kilometers she was ten seconds faster than Swiss European champion Marlen Reusser and 24 seconds faster than Olympic champion Annemiek van Vleuten.

"I've come a long way," said Van Dijk.

"I've been chasing this second world title since 2013, but it just didn't work out. That led to a lot of frustrations, a lot of disappointments. That's why it's such a great relief and so great that I now have gold again."

The Trek-Segafredo rider thinks all her experiences over the past eight years, the positive and the negative, helped her on her way to the world title on Monday.

"Since then I have developed a lot as a person, which is also normal when you get older. In 2013, I was only 26 and I thought: if I become world champion, all my dreams will come true. I now know that such a title does not determine what kind of person you are. That balance really helped me get to this point."

See also: Overview: Programme, results and Dutch participants of the World Cycling Championships