The biggest hits of the evening came from the double fours in rowing and cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten. “The story is over,” said van Vleuten, after winning the gold medal in the time trial. Anna van der Breggen won bronze.
After the fall and the blunder, now the gold
In Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Van Vleuten was on her way to the title when she fell hard. Last week, she even thought she had won the road race in Tokyo, but due to a lack of communication, she did not realize that an Austrian was ahead of her.
It was now party time. And here’s how she responded:
The double ovens on the rowing course did what was expected of them, but it’s way too easy to write like that. The four matadors carried the status of big favorites brilliantly, although there was still a mistake from Dirk Uittenbogaard.
He made a serious mistake, causing the boat to lose precious speed. The team didn’t panic, picked up speed and gave the competition a good run. Gold in the middle of the Dutch night. At that time, the first and only for TeamNL, Van Vleuten was yet to come.
Here is what the men said on RTL Nieuws camera:
But we’ve said it before: it was a cascade of medals and it would have been close if we hadn’t had two, but four gold medals. Melvin Twellaar and Stef Broenink won silver in the couple’s pair, although soon after they were a bit disappointed it didn’t go gold. The difference with the number 1 France was only two tenths of a second.
Bronze also in rowing
The women’s four sans was just as tight. They too could smell the gold. After an unprecedented final sprint, the difference to Australia was negligible, but just too big for gold.
But we are still not there. The very first medal today was bronze. Lisa Scheenaard and Roos de Jong finished third behind Romania and New Zealand in their sculls. The two were in second place for a long time, but were unable to fend off an attack from New Zealand.
And to complement the Dutch success, there was also the – perhaps unexpected – money for a unleashed Tom Dumoulin in the time trial. We had no idea how good Dumoulin would really be. After a four-month hiatus, he decided last May to devote himself fully to high performance sport. He lost the fun for a while, but the thirst for competition returned. And it paid off today in a good stage, with a second place behind the Slovenian Primoz Roglic in the end.
Judokas Noël van ‘t End and Sanne van Dijke are also fully involved for the medals today.
Infections and measures
The Dutch team in Tokyo could also use the successes. All of the athletes who appeared on camera then admitted it had been a tough week. A week with infections from fellow athletes, and these infections then provided additional action for others.
For example, rowers were no longer allowed to use the general facilities of the rowing course. Then you have to think about the dining room, the toilet and the room to warm up. The rowing association must now also organize transport to the rowing course itself. The Dutch are no longer taken on general buses.
The measures have also been extended in the TeamNL building itself. The lounge can no longer be used, the training rooms must be reserved and it is advisable to take the stairs instead of the elevator. No, it wasn’t a fun week. But now is a week with a lot of medals. And if you ask the athletes, that’s really the most important thing.
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