Now a spry 37 years of age, Dutchman Bart Brentjens started making an impact in mountain biking more than a decade ago when he won the 1995 world championships, following it up by winning the first Olympic mountain bike gold medal in Atlanta in 1996. He secured a second world championship title in the same year to become the world's best mountain biker during the mid-nineties. Brentjens spoke with Cyclingnews' Steve Medcroft about winning races at an age where most pros would have retired long ago:
After nine more seasons in the lead pack in both cross country and the growing discipline of marathon (in which he earned a silver medal at the 2005 world championships), you'd think a veteran of Brentjens' age would start slowing down. But no chance, says the Team Giant rider, who has won the world cup opener in Curacao and placed third in the Sea Otter omnium behind Frenchman Jean-Christoph Peraud and Englishman Liam Killeen so far this season. “I was healthy the whole winter so I didn't miss any training,” Brentjens said from his home in central Holland in early April about his early-season successes. “I did more gym training – twice a week with weights – and I feel like I have a little bit more power in my legs.”
Brentjens says he hopes to use that power in his quest for the marathon world championship. But, if his first few match-ups against the world best cross-country racers are any indication, he might want to set his sights on the cross-country championship as well.
Cyclingnews: As ambassador to mountain biking for the Netherlands, there was a lot of publicity that you had a hand in designing the Curacao [in the Dutch Antilles islands - ed.] course. Did that give you an advantage in the race?
Bart Brentjens: I actually didn't have much to do with the design of the course; I just gave some advice. It was a good course though. The short climbs and the heat fit me - I did a small race there in November so I knew it a little bit.
Read the entire Bart Brentjens interview here.