Puck Pieterse will carry Netherlands' Olympic medal ambitions in mountain bike while no men were nominated

Dutch national coach Gerben de Knegt has announced that it will be only Puck Pieterse and Anne Terpstra representing Netherlands in Mountain Bike events at the Olympic Games in Paris. Despite his hopes that Mathieu van der Poel would take up the one spot for men, these weren't fulfilled and so there won't be a Dutch flag in the male race.

After exploring the MTB trail in Paris several times, De Knegt came to the conclusion that both Pieterse and Terpstra have good chances. "This course is comparable to that of Tokyo in terms of layout. The biggest difference is that there is now a lot of gravel. Something that is definitely up Puck's alley," sounded optimistic on KNWU website.

"Puck is competing for the medal, it's that simple. She has amply proven that and she is taking on that role," the 48-year-old De Knegt continued with praise. "Anne, in turn, can make smart use of her outsider role with her Olympic experience. She has won several world cups and medals in recent years. She can turn that experience into something very beautiful."

De Knegt could have brought along one male mountain biker to represent the Netherlands in addition to the two ladies, but that eventually turned out no possible. "Unfortunately, we currently do not have any elite riders who meet the NOC*NSF qualification requirements, despite our efforts to find a way around this. Of course I think that's a shame. At the same time, I see a lot of potential within the under-23 group, with which we will start the road towards Los Angeles 2028," says the coach.

"We are really looking forward to seeing the riders in action in Paris. It is a good example of how young talent can really compete with the highest level. Puck and Anne complete the entire TeamNL cycling selection. We travel to Paris with a lot of confidence, to compete with 24 riders."

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