Last weekend, Ann-Sophie Van den Dries first won bronze in the scratch and then gold in the omnium at the elite 2 at the Belgian Track Cycling Championships. This was under the approving eye of her friend, cyclo-cross rider Jarno Bellens, her trainer Kieran De Fauw and her role model Lotte. Kopecky. “I had to come back from far away,” said Morkhoven.
“There is a whole history behind my very first tricolor ever,” explains the brand new champion, who gave free rein to her emotions after her first two medals. “I raced on the road with the newcomers, but always trained in the completely wrong way. The results were not forthcoming. A lot has changed since I came into contact with Kieran De Fauw (trainer of Lotte Kopecky and at Cycling Vlaanderen, ed.) two years ago, when I was very deep in sporting terms. From then on I focused on the track and really came a long way during that period. Of course also thanks to my mother and my grandmother, who fully supported me, and my friend (cyclocross rider and former Belgian champion Jarno Bellens, ed.).”
This culminated in her very first podium finishes last weekend for the 20-year-old track cyclist from Acrog-Tormans, in the elite 2: bronze in the scratch and gold in the omnium. “It gave me a great feeling. When, after putting on the tricolor and singing the national anthem, I was able to fall into the arms of my mother and grandmother, and saw Jarno watching enthusiastically further away, I could not hold back my tears.”
A few minutes earlier she had been showing off on the podium next to her role model: Lotte Kopecky, who won the elite title. “Being able to compete in the same competition with her was very impressive. It gave me a proud feeling to be able to ride in her wheel, while I could feast my eyes on her strength and technique. And afterwards I was also impressed by the way she approached me and encouraged me.”
This great success already makes the history student at the University of Antwerp dream of a next goal. “A number of interim meetings will now follow, but in December there will be the Belgian Weight Loss Championships. I want to make that a new goal,” he concluded.