3 Aug 2018

Dutch cycling queen Ellen van Dijk on road to title hat-trick record

Cyclist Ellen van Dijk has her eyes on the prize - and a record - as she gets set to compete at Glasgow 2018.

Time trial queen Ellen van Dijk (NED) has her sights set on rewriting the record books with a third consecutive continental title at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

The Dutch superstar, who is also competing in the Cycling Road Race on Sunday 5 August, believes this will be one of the toughest challenges of her illustrious career.

"I've never been to Scotland so I'm really looking forward to the prospect of competing in a city and country that is completely fresh to me," she said.

"I have studied the maps of the time trial and the road race but until you actually get there and start training, you don't know what it's going to be like.

"As European time trial champion, the pressure will be all on me to retain my title, so that will inspire me to be at the absolute peak of my performance level [on Wednesday 8 August].

I've actually won the last two European titles, so I'll be going for three in row in Glasgow. I don't think that's been done before, so it would be wonderful to set a new benchmark in the sport.

"I'm under no illusions about the difficulty of my task. It gets harder every year to stay ahead of the pack."

Van Dijk is a five-time World Champion and her hunger for honours remains undiminished. However, she is hoping to return to her academic studies when the time comes to chain up her bicycle for good.

"I have a bachelor's degree in human movement sciences which I completed in 2005. I started doing my masters before the London 2012 Olympics Games but cycling took over my life and I didn't get a chance to complete it," she added.

"Hopefully I can take up my studies again when I'm no longer able to compete as an international cyclists but I'd like to think that is a good few years away as there are many more events that I want to win."