Scott Sunderland
Relaxed before the Ronde

The Scott Sunderland Diary 2000

Beyond Amstel, training in Spain

Scott before the Rund um den Henninger Turm
Photo: © Mario Stiehl

Hi all !

Spring is finally showing its colours and we have had some beautiful days here - accompanied by some heavy storms, I admit. But, we are surely getting enough sun to make the grumpiness the long winter put on many faces fade away.

Scott left for Spain beginning of last week to do some quality training in a mountainous area. He went with a group of Belgian pro's who all needed to do some long, hard rides. Tony Bracke (Collstrop), his room mate and Scott himself have been truly enjoying their training camp so far, with splendid weather and rides of approx. 160 kms daily. They are not having a relaxing holiday, I can assure you. (Unlike Van Petegem and co. who are unwinding in Calpe).

As I am working full time now, SaŽn and I couldn't join Scott. Eric De Clercq took his family down and Scott says it makes him miss us, especially because they just sit around by the pool and rest after the training rides. But, school is important to SaŽn, who at the age of 4 is now attending his first year in pre-school (we have 1 year of kindergarten and 3 years of preschool here)! He just loves it and I must say I am surprised by the things they learn every week.

The schooling system here in Belgium is really good, although some more sports could be added to their program, SaŽn now only has one hour of kiddy-gym a week. SaŽn really wants to go and so I like him to get as many days in as possible (days from 9 till 4 by the way, only half a day on Wednesday). Especially because he misses out on three months while we are in Australia. In a couple of years, when he goes to 'the big school' as SaŽn calls it, we'll have to find a solution for that problem.

Anyway, Scott will be back next Friday, tanned and really fit I think. He said they got roasted the first day out. Even Scott himself, being used to the Australian sun, got burned on the arms. The sun screen just didn't last long enough. But, he feels better and better on the bike and is happy with the improvement he made in just one week.

After Flanders, an 8 day-course of antibiotics (to heal a throat and sinus infection) took all the reserves Scott had left out of him. He was back to zero form-wise and starting those races afterwards was good for the team but Scott went too deep and felt awful for days.

Planckaert did realize beforehand that letting Scott race wasn't the best thing, but the team has been left out of races already because of the fact there are so many second category teams now (especially French ones). Since Scott is (kind of) the international P.R. "pawn for Palmans-Ideal", they had to line him up, especially for Amstel Gold. Otherwise, the team could miss out on more races later on. It's business, hard business this sport nowadays, and very 'political' in every sense.

Scott's crash in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne was a very bad thing for the Palmans-Ideal team and they felt the consequences immediately. Luckily there were Van Dijck and Eeckhout who kept the team afloat by riding very strongly while Scott was out.

It's good for Scott too that he can regain shape within a very short period, like now. He only really needs a couple of weeks.

Let's hope the team can undo the damage a bit and ride some more good results in the months to come. If all goes according to plan, Scott will get more time off in July (school holidays here). "We" are thinking about a trip to Ireland with SaŽn or a two week training camp for Scott in Italy - I'm not anticipating Ireland too much yet, although I'd love to go, I will have to wait and see. After Amstel in '98 and Kuurne this year I have learned not to look too far ahead and live a day at a time.

I'll keep you posted.