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A smiling Lieuwe Westra with his gold medal
Both champions also headed to 2012 London Olympics
Lieuwe Westra of Vacansoleil-DCM and Elinor Van Dijk (Specialized-Lululemon) sped their way to the Netherlands national time trial championships on Wednesday in Emden. Westra called it the “reward” for many years' work and is now looking forward to doing equally well in the Tour de France and 2012 London Olympics.
He has worked towards this goal for many years, and “this is the reward. This title means more to me than the road title,” he told De Telegraaf.
“This is my discipline and it is overwhelming to be Dutch champion. Every year the red, white and blue was my goal and now it has finally worked out.”
National coach Leo van Vliet was pleased and also looking forward to London. “I chose Lieuwe early to give him reassurance for his participation in the Olympic time trial, and it is nice that he returns that trust. I hope he can do a strong race against the clock in London, it is a good course for him. But he may also be of value in the road race, for example, by going in an early attack.”
Lars Boom of Rabobank was second and Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Niki Terpstra third.
Van Dijk credits altitude training
Van Dijk was glad to have the race as a final test before the Olympics, where she will ride not only the time tria and road race but also the team pursuit. “I just had three weeks of altitude training in the Sierra Nevada and that has been shown to have a good effect on my form. That's good because I'm leaving again for the same period to the same location to get ready for the Olympic games.”
Annemiek Vleuten and Iris Slappendel, both of the Rabobank womens' team, were second and third. Defending champion Marianne Vos is still recovering form a broken collarbone and did not participate, to Van Dijk's regret.
She would have preferred to measure herself against Vos, noting, “Then you know a little where you stand.”