31 July, 2012

Vlaams Brabant

We had a great team race at Vlaams Brabant last week. We finished the race having very convincingly won the climber’s jersey with Bjorn, the best Brabant rider and second place overall with Sibi and 3rd, 4th, and 8th  on various stages.

Being a newly self proclaimed GC rider I sat in well on day one until the final 6km when I put in a do or die attack when I thought I was in with a shout of a stage win. It was too far out though and the sprinters caught me and my breakaway companion on the long wide road to the finish. Stage two was another scorching hot day and after being in a break for some of the day I suffered in the sun, cracked a bit at the end and lost 1:04  as the race shredded. This proved to be annoyingly decisive as I finished on Sunday 1:11 down on GC on Sunday.

Stage three was a flat, 9.4km time trial which was right up my street. I did everything right, felt like a TANK, thought I was going to win it easy peasy, but sadly finished 8 seconds down on the winner in 4th place. On stage four I attacked down a cobbled descent after 25km, thinking that I could be first to the sprint line, win 10 euros and maybe be in with a shout at getting up there on the Sprinter’s jersey. I went much too early though! 4km later I was still off the front alone, wondering where the line was, so I decided to wait for the little group forming behind. We combined to make a group of 5 riders and worked well together up to the finish when I led the sprint out to take the points, much to the other rider’s disgust. We were joined a few kilometres later by another 10 riders (including the leader of the Sprinter’s competition with 3 teammates!) so that was my hopes for a jersey over with. We worked well together as a group but it was another sprinter’s stage and we were swept up by a breakneck speed peloton at 9km to go.

The final stage was another one destined for a bunch sprint, despite plenty of valiant efforts; particularly a team split when we had the ENTIRE TEAM in the break of 10! We went pretty deep to try and get us all to move up on GC, but it wasn’t to be and we were chased down by three or four teams back in the bunch. It was a futile effort, but the team bosses loved the spirit of it, and were raving about it for the rest of the day. It’s pretty special to get the entire team in a breakaway, particularly on a flat sprinters stage and it’s a nice memory to have from the race.

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