Paris-Roubaix champion Niki Terpstra considering possibility of riding for the Netherlands on the track during 2016 Rio Olympic Games
Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is considering a spot on the Dutch pursuit team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He told Dutch broadcaster NOS after winning the Six Days of Amsterdam that Theo Bos (Belkin) wants to put together a strong team for the Olympics.
“Theo is trying to convince good riders who can also ride on the track as he wants to make a strong team for the team pursuit in Rio,” Terpstra explained.
“It’s an option but I am not really thinking seriously about it yet. It is still far away.”
Bos won the silver medal in the sprint event at the 2004 Games and set the 200-metre record at 9.772 seconds in 2006. He has recently focused on the road, next year racing with South Africa’s MTN-Qhubeka team.
30-year-old Terpstra raced on the track and won several national titles as he developed into a road racer. At the 2005 World Championships in Los Angeles, he helped the Netherlands place second behind Great Britain with Steve Cummings, Chris Newton, Paul Manning and Rob Hayles.
Even with wins like Paris-Roubaix and Dwars door Vlaanderen, he continues to return to the velodrome in the winter to race six-day events. He won the Rotterdam Six-Day last winter and the Amsterdam Six-Day on Saturday night with Yoeri Havik.
“I am a professional cyclist and that is my priority, but I want to keep the option open of going to the Olympics,” Terpstra said.
“[Track cycling] is one of my hobbies. I love to play, I love bikes and I love high speed. It is a combination of this. And the great thing is that the audience is so close that you get an immediate response if you break away or do a sprint. It’s a great spectacle.”
The Netherlands won a bronze medal in 1964 and a silver in 1928. At the 2012 London Games, it placed seventh with a time of 4:04.569.
Bradley Wiggins placed ninth behind Terpstra this year in Paris-Roubaix and said that he will return to try to win again in April 2015. Afterwards, he will return full time to the track and hopes to win a second team pursuit gold medal with Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Games.