The son of ex-national coach Rik Verbrugghe dreamed of a great performance, in July he had won silver at the European Time Trial Championship. But too great an unregulated resistance, which was only noticed by the UCI just before his start, threw a spanner in the works. Juniors are only allowed to ride with a 52-plateau, Verbrugghe had a 53 stitches.
“I came here in good shape and wanted to try to do something good. And then this happens. The problem is that after the European Championship I sent my bike back to the team (the French top team Groupama-FDJ, ed.) for a check for the rest of the season.”
“They changed my crank and put a 53 on it. I didn’t know that when I got my bike back. I trained on it for the next few months, but didn’t feel it.” The crank, in Dutch kruk, is the connecting piece between bottom bracket and pedal.
Verbrugghe even rode a time trial in the Aubel-Thimister-Stavelot stage race. “I raced there and my bike was approved. So I thought my bike was fine.”
“At a first check-up 2 to 3 hours before the World Cup time trial it was also good. When I came by again 10 minutes before the race, full of adrenaline, they said it was not good.”
“I then had to take the spare bike, which I had never ridden before. Then the result can no longer be good.”
Jens Verbrugghe’s team took the blame. “It’s a human error. Part of me, too, that I didn’t see that.”
He tries to accommodate it. “We can’t go backwards, it just happened. Now I’m going to try to be mentally ready for Friday and then give the best of myself in the road race.”
“I hope I can be fresh again by Friday. This gets in my head, but the condition is good and I want to show that. I think I’m ready.”