Niki Terpstra: “The TTT is going to be pretty close”
The Eneco Tour winner shared his opinion on the opening race of the World Championships.
For the first time in more than nine decades, the World Championships are taking place in the Middle East, with Qatar set to play host for the competition. The event will kick off this week-end, with the team time trial race, where seventeen 6-man outfits will fight for the top 3 places.
A world champion in the team time trial race with Etixx – Quick-Step in 2012 and 2013, Niki Terpstra is expected to be among the six riders who will start the 40km-long event, during which our outfit will try to recapture the gold medals. With less than 48 hours to go until the start of the race, the 31-year-old Dutchman sat down for a Q&A session.
– Niki, on what did the team worked before flying to Qatar?
During our sessions at the Ursel airfield, we focused on the roundabouts and corners, but also on the way we communicate during the race. When it comes to such a demanding discipline, you have to be focused at all times, feel how your teammates are going and take decisions in a second based on what's happening on the road, and last week's training helped us a lot in this regard.
– What do you think of the course here in Qatar?
It's a typical parcours for this country, with long straights, which will make for some high speeds, and a technical section in the final part. You need horsepower for this race, but also to play it smart until the very end, as the heat is going to be a crucial factor. The race will be pretty close and we mustn't underestimate any of our opponents, because they are all going to bring their A-game.
– On Friday you trained on the course. How was it?
It was really important to do it and get used to the heat, and at the same time to get the pulse of things and feel how fast you can and should go. Tomorrow, the circuit will be traffic-free and and it will be very important to go out there and make the most out of this training. After such a session, you talk with your teammates, ask "Did I do anything wrong?" or "Did I start too fast or too slow?" and know which aspects you can improve.
– What will be the most important thing on Sunday?
To be united and show a big team spirit. These factors can make the difference at the end of the day. We worked together, we are at a high level and very confident that a big result is up for grabs.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele