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Ellen van Dijk, world time trial champion, announces pregnancy

Ellen van Dijk

Gold medallist Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands celebrates on the podium after the women’s individual elite time trial cycling event at the UCI 2022 Road World Championship in Wollongong on September 18, 2022. - - -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Dutchwoman Ellen van Dijk, the two-time reigning world time trial champion in road cycling, is due with her first child in September and plans to return to competition in 2024.

“It has always been our wish to start a family and so to have this wish come true, still feels a bit unreal right now,” van Dijk said, according to her pro cycling team. “Together with the team, and the unwavering support of [partner] Benjamin, I have achieved my biggest goals over the past two years. When discussions around an extension of my contract began last year, we spoke about my seemingly conflicting ambitions: I want to win a medal at the Olympics in 2024, but I would also like to start a family. Straight away, the team was open to both scenarios and that was incredibly heart-warming.”

Last year, van Dijk became the second woman to win a third world title in the time trial after Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo. She won her first gold in 2013, then back-to-back crowns in 2021 and 2022.

At the Olympics, van Dijk’s best finish was fourth in the time trial in 2016, missing a medal by 11 seconds after a crash in a 44-minute race against the clock.

She was not selected for the Tokyo Olympic team. The Netherlands had the maximum two spots in the women’s time trial, which were given to fellow stars Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten. Van der Breggen since retired, and van Vleuten plans to retire after the 2023 season.

Van Dijk turns 37 next February. The last three Olympic women’s time trial champions were all older than that.

“I definitely have unfinished business with the Olympics,” she said. “We have already started to tentatively make a structured plan for my comeback in 2024 and for Paris.”

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