In recent years, when Matthijs Büchli returned to Santpoort, the place where he grew up, it was usually to be honored. As a track cyclist he won everything there was to win, including Olympic gold. Last night he was in Santpoort to give the starting signal for the local cycling round, part of the village festival.
Büchli switched from the track to the road at the start of this season and with that, the celebrations seem to have come to an end for the time being. Because Büchli is not yet winning in his new role. The change is hard on him. Büchli has great difficulty completing races, let alone achieving places of honor. “I had hoped it would go faster, but maybe I shouldn’t have expected that.”
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Matthijs Büchli does everything he can to play a significant role in the races he drives. He could use a win. But when the last kilometers are in sight and the final starts, he has either dismounted or has become so tired that he no longer has the strength for the sprint. “The races on the road are much longer than I was used to on the track. It is difficult for me to cycle 150 kilometers.”
“Moving from the track to the road is a long-term process”
Quitting never crossed his mind. “I have to give it time. It is a matter of long breath. I give myself two or three years. It has to happen in that.” He does not rule out a return to the track in the long run, although that will not be as a sprinter.” As a road racer, I gave up too much to be able to play a significant role as a sprinter. But perhaps the longer competition parts on the track are a option. They are about fifty kilometers. A lot less than on the road. So I should have a chance there.”
Büchli would have preferred to hoist himself in cycling jersey last night instead of giving the starting shot. But the regulations do not allow a rider of his professional level, he cycles with the BEAT Cycling team, to compete with the amateurs. “It’s a pity, I would have liked it. But it’s just not allowed.”
The Ronde van Santpoort was won in the women’s race by Tessa Dijksman from Velserbroek. Frank Roling from Beverwijk was the fastest among the men.