Inside Track 2014: World number three Niels-Kristian Iversen’s weekly look inside the Norfolk Arena
PUBLISHED: 19:16 15 August 2014 | UPDATED: 19:16 15 August 2014
Early August hasn’t actually been the best spell of my career – but it’s definitely one I’ll never forget.
About this time last year I won almost everything I took part in. But having won the World Cup this month and defended my Danish title, this is a period I’ll always remember.
I’ve had a bit of time since the World Cup final to let it all sink in. The way things ended, with me passing Janusz Kolodziej on the last corner to win it for Denmark, definitely made it more special. For the first lap and a half I thought ‘he’s going to be too fast to catch’. However, I kept going, and getting closer, and I could see he was looking back at where I was. That was when I started to benefit because he was more worried about me than what he was doing.
I knew I had to pass him as if not I’d lost it for us from the gate. It was pretty simple. If I beat him we won the World Cup, if not, Poland did. Of course I was nervous, but in a good way. I like to have that sort of responsibility when I ride.
I felt proud that I had the chance to do it for the guys and the whole country. So when I passed him on the last turn, well it was just crazy. The whole stadium went silent and it felt like everything stopped. Because it was in Poland they wanted him to beat me.
I was screaming my head off inside my helmet mind. I went a bit crazy for a moment. And then I saw my team-mates and everyone charging out onto the track. It was just such an amazing feeling. Even though I won the race, we had four riders, Hans Andersen (reserve), Anders Secher (team boss) and all the guys in the pits that helped us win it. Everyone played their part. Whether it was me, Nicki (Pedersen), Mads (Korneliussen) or Peter (Kildemand), our points were no more important than each others. They all add up.
It’s my fourth World Cup gold medal but I wouldn’t say this one was anymore special than the rest. The first (2006) meant a lot. I took the winning ride that night too actually. Doing it 2008 in our own country was brilliant. And 2012 was the first year I’d captained the side. Each one has been special in its own kind of way I suppose.
We didn’t do anything crazy the night we lifted the trophy as we all had to ride in Poland for our league clubs the next day. We had a few beers but that was about it. I’m sure we’ll meet up over the winter and have a meal and do things properly then.
On Friday I won my third Danish title on the bounce. It’s definitely a different feeling to winning a World Cup. You’re doing it for just yourself and your own ‘team’ – your mechanics, your family and the people who help you out. It’s maybe not as special as winning with a proper team as such but it still means so much.
You get the chance to call yourself the best rider in the country, which is always an honour. I want to win every time I take to the track, whether that’s for a club or for myself. When I won my first Danish title I didn’t think ‘I want to do three in a row’. I just wanted to win it again. Now I’ve done three I’d like to do four. That would mean I would equal Erik Gundersen who did four in a row in the 80s, which would be pretty cool as he’s a legend. Ole Olsen did seven or eight in a row once, which I’m still a long way off!
Now those events are done it’s time to keep the ball rolling. We’ve got the play-offs coming up in the countries I ride in for my clubs and the final stages of the GPs. It’s an important part of the season. These are the things you work hard all year for. So it’s important I keep racking up the points to try and enjoy more glory.
- Niels-Kristian Iversen was talking to Gavin Caney.
* To read Niels’ exclusive weekly column first, and in print – buy Wednesday’s paper. Visit www.edp24.co.uk/sport/kings-lynn-stars for an archive of Iversen’s articles.