After six years of loyal service at Team Reggeborgh, Kai Verbij has been preparing for the new season at Jumbo-Visma in recent months. The skater says he has made steps under the wing of coach Jac Orie and hopes to be able to show that this season. “We have to sacrifice ourselves for the sport, it is the only solution.”
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Verbij is perfectly at home at Jumbo-Visma, but he had imagined something different with his new team in the first few weeks. The 2017 sprint world champion broke his collarbone in a crash at the end of May during a training ride on the bicycle. Just when he started to run better after a period of habituation.
“Because of that collarbone fracture I was out again for a week and a half and I did not have the most perfect preparation. In addition, it was a big step to leave my familiar environment after six years”, Verbij told NU.nl on Monday at the Jumbo team presentation. -Visma in Thialf.
“You come to a place with a different dynamic and you have to get to know everyone. I’m not the easiest at that, because I need time to loosen up. But I like it now. I now also see that I have taken steps. and that gives me confidence, although it will be a surprise to me how I am going to skate this year. “
One of the reasons for Verbij to exchange Team Reggeborgh for Jumbo-Visma was to be able to become acquainted with the methods of coach Jac Orie, who is relatively involved in data. The sprinter admits that he already looks at his own performance during training differently than when he skated for Reggeborgh.
“I did a test with my previous team and then stopped looking at it. Jac tests quite regularly and therefore explains to me extensively what you can see on it. I enjoy sharing that vision, asking questions and answering. You can fuck with Jac for a long time and that is great fun “, says Verbij, who won the world title in the 1,000 meters in 2019.
Kai Verbij switched from Team Reggeborgh to Jumbo-Visma after six years. (Photo: ANP)
‘Have to sacrifice us for the sport’
The question is when and how often Verbij can show how much progress he has made at Jumbo-Visma this season. The first World Cups of the season were all canceled due to the corona crisis, although there is a good chance that the World Cups can still be organized in Thialf this autumn.
The Dutch skating union KNSB offered to organize three or four world cups – through a week-long bubble in Heerenveen – and will probably get the green light from the international skating union ISU this week.
“It is an ambitious idea and it would be great if it could be implemented. In a pre-Olympic year you would like to see whether your working method is effective and you want to be able to compete internationally with the rest”, emphasizes Verbij, who willing to live in a hotel for about four weeks with strict rules.
“It is not always nice to be an athlete at such times, but in this situation it is the only solution. We have to sacrifice ourselves for the sport, because it would be good for skating if matches could be broadcasted on television. “
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