Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004
Cras-Avernas, Wavre-Rijneman, Neiuwrode Kermis, May 31-June 11, 2004
Moving along nicely
By Cameron Jennings
Well it has been a about a week and a half since I have last made contact and it has been a pretty busy one at too. I believe the last race was TEAG Hannelite and after a easy day, we headed to Cras Avernas for a tough little 1.5. The race ended up ok for the team, especially as we were on the back foot for a while as we chased to bring back a break, with Phil and Eric being up front at the end. The reason we had to chase was due to Harro having an incident with his feed bag and ending up on the floor whilst being in the front. We quickly got organised and chased it down, Phil and Eric doing a good job and jumping across. Big Rory Sutherland had a great day and won the race (Rabobank Div 3).
The day after Cras Avernas was spent travelling to the Ardennes for some specific training as we lead up to Circuito Montanes in Spain, a week-long stage race. Eric, Matt, Tom, Cody, Sven, Phil and myself headed south to Bastogne and a good 3-4 days training was had, although the weather did turn sour on one of the days. Monday was an easy day as we recovered from the previous day's race, while on Tuesday and Wednesday we headed out for a good solid two-day block of five and six hours. Rides were based around Bastogne, Houfallize, Vielsalm, La Roche and Barraque de Fraiture. Time moved along nicely in between hills as we made up our own Aussie pronunciations of various towns and places, joked around and generally enjoyed training in a different challenging environment. Returned home Friday and then recovered Saturday ready for our next race, Wavre-Rijneman, a 1.5 here in Belgium just down the road.
It was a good race, on a nice, hot day in Belgium (28 degrees); the head was screwed on and I really wanted to race well. The course is hilly at the start as two laps are completed around Wavre before it flattens out and speeds along towards Mechelen and the finish in Rijneman, just 25km from our house. I relaxed the first 80km through the hills saving the legs, although an effort was required when Eric punctured and I dropped back to give him a hand. Got him back and then moved my way back to the front as we approached the finish laps, which contained a tricky 500m cobble section. Approaching the cobbles I hit the front and led into them forcing the pace. My effort coupled with a crash behind propelled a break clear of 30 riders, but unfortunately, the rest of the team were caught behind the crash. Outnumbered, I worked when I had to for the next 50km before another group with 20 guys caught up with a lap and half to go. Last lap, I attacked 3-5 times but nothing stuck. Two riders, however, did get away and as we approached the finish, si I had to find my bunch sprint legs from somewhere. Dug around and found them, covered in cobwebs, but they still worked ok. To be expected, it was pretty hectic and I did my best, crossing the line in 10th for 12th in the race as Bart Heigweigh and co. stayed away. Not bad, but it would have been nice if one of my attacks stuck and I had earned some UCI points, but not to be.
Raced again last night, a kermis at Neiuwrode, a challenging course with a nice little climb some 15km from our house. The bunch split with five laps to go with four from the team and then two laps out. Hamish "Houdini" Haynes attacked and six of us got clear. We worked well with the remnants of the break close behind and despite attacking on the last time up the hill, it was a six man sprint. Started the sprint too late and the line came up quicker than I thought, just missing the win, coming in second with Hamish in third.
Next on the cards is Spain and two days in a car. Anybody for a road trip?