Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004
Linden Kermesse, Fleche Hesbignonne/Cras Avernas - 1.5
Limbering up in Linden, Cras behaviour
By Nathan "Chookman" Russell
Alo Alo, it is I, le Chook, and I have some tales and tribulations from last weekend's smash-fest in Belgium. The lead up to this race saw me and Bobby Dazzler (Robbie Williams) load up the tardis and head off to a pro kermesse near Antwerpen. It was a few days before Cras Avernas and would be ideal to get the system pumping for the 1.5. Local council had other ideas halfway there with major roadworks delaying our progress enough to pull the pin. Plan B was to tear up an amateur kermesse in Linden. So a 3hr drive to get 20 mins from home and a number was pinned on. My vibe for this one was great. I was relaxed, keen and had fresh legs, the sun was even shining; maybe I shouldn't talk it up too much as I didn't actually win...
Anyway, I rode good position and climbed well. A hiccup on the descent resulted with a busted spoke and with no spare I wondered how long a spoke hitting my fork would last. Some quick networking by Hamish to the locals had a wheel change sorted (nice one bruva) and I was good to go. With one to go I was in a group of six and thought, "Yep, I got this one." Then it was, "No you don't" and the 'kermesse kings' dragged it back and then BAMM! Hamish and co. shot down the road for a stab at some Euro and flowers. Third to Hamish and hats off to ya and a top 20 for me. Dazzler rode so hard on the first two laps that all the air escaped from his tubes, unbelievable I know.
Fleche Hesbignonne / Cras Avernas - 1.5, Belgium, May 31, 2004
The Cras affair was a race I want another stab at. Like most of my races, looking back I would have played different cards. Word from the Kleedkamers (change rooms) was that early moves were likely and that the wind was getting nasty. This put me in a bit of a frenzy from the word go. I was like the character Tweak in South Park and rode the neutral section like a keirin. Picture me following attacks from Landbowkrediet, Vlaanderen and Robobank in the gutter. At this point in time, I wish to put out a formal complaint about some of these bigger and more powerful teams.
*I am not impressed by the manner in which the above mentioned teams hurt me constantly in the bunch. This is not an isolated matter and it seems to be happening quite often this year. If this continues I will be forced to take the named offenders to the Reflex Discotheque the night before all important races in a endeavour to balance out the hurt-fest.
Now back to our normal program, The hard-man of the team David Harrigan had a pearler first half of the race. Up the road with eight others in what was the move of the day. When you all see David next he can explain what happened between him and that damn feed bag. The result put all the lads on the front for tidy piece of swap-offio, bringing back the break close enough for Funky Phil to force a move that eventually put him in a top three position and away solo with 5k to go. Rory Sutherland (Rabo) and van Bondt (Landbouw) took first and second and if the line was magically 500m closer, Funky was fifth. The actual position of the line gave him 18th, while Eric Leivens rode his usual impressive race with 12th after launching away on the last major climb.
So some positive team bonding on the front and the writing is one the wall for Phil to do snatch a win.Now back to me again. I had my usual fun in the bunch gallop with an attempt to come from last wheel with 1k to go. I would have made it too if it wasn't for those pesky kids! No pics from that day so instead I have a 'best of' compilation from the season so far.