Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004
Belgium, September 22, 2004
About bloody time!
By Cameron Jennings
Been a while, but I will endeavour to give you all a quick run-down on what has been happening here for the last few weeks.
All the big races have come and gone. Midden-Zeeland was a grovel-fest, highlighted by a mechanical problem, but I backed it up with a strong attacking ride the next day at GP Jef Schrenens in Leuven. The following week I hit the deck hard at a professional kermis at Izegem, and as I sit here today I am still feeling the effects. Wounds on my hip and hands are still healing and still suffering from a sore chest, but it has not been enough to sideline me, just slow me down a little.
Our final big team race of the year was the Championship of Vlaanderen at Koolscamp. A tough 1.3 in West-Flanders and another race that our director, Daniel Willems, won some 25 years ago and one that still lights his face up when he talks about it. I was feeling better and keen for a good ride. Was active in a number of breaks early on and some dangerous looking splits, but the mix in the groups was possibly not right and they were brought back. At about the 100km mark, my chest was giving me grief and I found myself too far down the back through the feed and two strong groups jumped away. No excuses, just too far back. Hilton and Hamish were there but with the right mix gone, the bunch resigned itself to an early day. We rode another two laps, having a chat to Ashley Humbert and co. and pulled in to see the finish. Hilton had another good day and finished 14th.
Lined up again on Sunday for another race, a tough amateur kermis at Kessel-Lo just near Leuven. It was about 110km and consisted of 15 laps over a nice circuit with a 600m climb every lap. To cut a long story short, I finally won. After numerous near misses through the year it was great to jump away from a group of four with 500m to go and have enough time to sit up, straighten the jersey and throw both arms in the air. If you disregard winning the "Unknown Distance" at this year's Rockhampton Cup on Wheels Track Carnival, it had been a long time between drinks.
Monday was taken easy and lined up for a professional kermis yesterday at Vichte in West-Flanders. Once again it was windy and on an open rolling course like this one, it was important to stay at the front. After five laps of constant attacks, a move formed and began to pull away. I missed the split but was keen to get something else going. After a few strong turns I pulled something clear and for the next two laps, we chased along with Nico Mattan and co. and made contact. As soon as we did, it went again and just missed going with it. I took off in pursuit and spent and next one and a half laps solo. Commissaire drove up alongside and told me that there were 15 up the road, so you are 16th and so you can finish next lap. Thank you very much. Wasn't looking forward to battling in the wind by myself for too much longer. A little more coin for the bank.
So that brings us today. The house population is dwindling slowly. Ricey has gone, then Leigh, Cody and Phil and Josh (back from the Olympics) leave tomorrow. That will leave Hamish and I in the house as Dave has been floating between here and Antwerp the last few months. Racing will be pretty much the same with a good dose of pro and amateur kermis courses. I feel like my form is still good and still feel strong, so I'd like to keep it going when I get home, i.e. the Sun Tour. Getting a start, however, is nigh on impossible for this little battler. Shall keep you posted.
Talk again soon before I head on the 1st of October.