Mountain biker Anne Terpstra (31) leads the World Cup rankings. ‘Become more coherent and integrated’

Mountain biker Anne Terpstra (31) leads the World Cup rankings.  'Become more coherent and integrated'

It can rightly be called a historical achievement. Anne Terpstra (31) tops the Mountain Bike World Cup classification after taking third place at American Snowshoe. No Dutchman has preceded her in this, and with two other competitions on the calendar, thoughts are treading carefully towards an overall win. This has never been done by a Dutchman.

Terpstra herself sees the logic of the situation, as she is also the first Dutch woman to win a World Cup competition. Feel proud. For the past few days, she has kept the leader’s white shirt nearby, during meals the shirt dangling beside her. “Only a select group in the world has ever worn the shirt. It is a feeling of honour.”

short night

Homeland Zeeland answers her phone in Canadian mornings. I just woke up from a little sleep, from a short night brought by a long flight from the United States, where she took over general command from Australian Rebecca McConnell. A few hours after midnight, Terpstra was in bed. The reason for this was the delay in the plane and thunder with the rental car.

After taking second place in the European Championships and World Championships, Terpstra finally settled among the world’s best players as a rating leader. It’s been the best in the Netherlands for years, and it made an international first impression in 2019. “I’ve become more consistent and integrated, which is why I’m at the top.”

Its development happened more or less by chance. In 2017, she moved to Germany, Bavaria to be exact, where her boyfriend lived. The Terpstra went according to spec, had little or no knowledge of the environment, and just ended up in the best training environment you could possibly want. Instead of flat, stone-free mountain bike trails around Apeldoorn, she found roads with huge boulders and tricky gradients near her new home.

Terpstra eagerly took advantage of this. “It was a nice side effect. Since then I have felt very comfortable on the stones on the bike. You get really good on the surface you are training on.”

You better go down

She has learned to get off better in her homeland near the Czech border, which is part of the sport she used to fall short of. Because of the slight differences in elevation in the Netherlands, its development in that region is stagnant. Left and right are crossed. “Now I dare say that I belong to the best technical riders in the world. On the slopes I even distance myself, while I was wasting time there.”

The Mont-Sainte-Anne track, located in the Canadian city of Quebec, has sufficient altimeters. On Wednesday, Terpstra, fifth in the Olympics a year ago, passed beyond that to slowly absorb the technical parts. Nothing is more important in preparation than this exploration. A mountain biker hopes to have a dry surface. “I am used to it in Germany. Others are better in the mud.”

The season will conclude a month later in Val di Sol, Italy. Besides McConnell, Alessandra Keeler (Switzerland) and Jenny Resved (Sweden) were not eliminated. “I’m also curious how the fight will turn out. It’s open, which makes it fun. Winning a weekend doesn’t mean you’ll win the next day. But if you’re in good shape, you can ride hard anywhere. That’s what I’m going to do anyway.”

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