The atmosphere around the Colorado Springs Velodrome has taken on a more serious feel this past week. Though the riders who normally train at this world-class facility are by no means casual in their approach to the sport, there have been some new international arrivals that have taken things up a notch.
The German and Dutch Olympic track cycling teams have arrived in the Front Range and they are using the Colorado facility for a high-altitude camp prior to the London Olympic Games. The teams will be training in the Springs for a number of weeks and both plan to compete in the ProCycling US Grand Prix of Sprinting – June 22-24, as a final tune-up event prior to leaving for Europe and the Olympics.
These riders are familiar with the area, spending time training here last summer, but this is the Olympic year and the stakes are much higher. And from what we have seen in there first few days here these riders and coaches are ready for London.
The Germans are among the strongest sprint cycling teams in the World. The Germans have no less than 5 World Champions here, led by Stefan Nimke, 6-time World Track Champion. In fact, both the Men and Women’s German team won the World Cup and set World records in the Team Sprint event this year. The German squad has 8 riders in town including the Olympic Team, provisional riders and sparring partners.
The team from the Netherlands has two very talented women leading the way in Willy Kanis and Yvonne Hijgenaar. These riders have won multiple World Cups and World Championship medals. The men’s squad from the Netherlands is dominated by younger riders as coach Rene Wolff has brought his Under 23 Team to train along side the Olympic Teams as preparation for the future.
Both coaches have raved about the great facilities, weather and support they receive here in Colorado Springs. “This is a wonderful place for our team. It is not only good for training but for the morale as well” said Rene Wolff, former World Champion and coach of the Dutch Olympic Team.
In the coming days more teams and individuals will be coming into the Front Range. The ProCycling US Grand Prix of Sprinting is expecting participants from 8 countries this year and there could be more. “We are very excited about this year’s field.” said Event Director, Pat McDonough, “We are in the second year and in that time we have had more than a dozen World Champions race. Fans of cycling won’t want to miss this event! Here is your chance to some of the Worlds best compete just before the Olympic Games.”