Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004
Sparkassen Giro Bochum - 1.3, Germany, August 8, 2004
A shiny race
By Nathan "Chookman" Russell
So, how was your weekend?
From a riders' point of view, my weekend was kind of special. It started with a derny race in Bochum, Germany. This was quite a spectacle with a full day of shenanigans on display for the crowd. Everything from stunt motorbikes dragging dudes on roller-blades up and down the straight to some goose on roller-blades strapping on a real jet engine to his back and launching himself up and down the straight. All was going to plan for this fine gentleman until he tried to take the corner and he clipped the barrier like Abdoujaparov and pinballed his way down the course. I thought it was great.
Cody Stevenson, yes the Budapest stage winner and myself, lined up for 64k of 2-stroke mayhem. And it being the day before a 1.3, I expected it to be in some way 'easier'. Instead, I got a derny rider who had a driving technique like my grandma, very start-stopish. Full noise on the straights and lots of brakes into the corners. At the end, I had a great impersonation of a yo-yo. But seriously, it was a moment I will never forget and talk up when I am racing vets and over the hill... which is quite soon.
Word of advice for anyone who gets the chance to do one... earplugs!
Sunday was what I like to call a shiny race. Big riders, TV, crowds, bells, whistles. Sparkassen Giro has it all. And with easily 10 or more Aussies on the program, it was great to see some of the boys floating around and catch up. Time to name drop: Hondo, Basso, Zabel, McEwen, Hammond even Nathan Russell were seen rambling on at the start line.
I reckon that every little thing that could go wrong, did. From loosing bottles to missing feeds, wrong place wrong time to just not being able to close a 10 metre gap to the break.It was all going pear shaped.
I was lucky enough to have some of the bunches come back together and I had a realistic shot at a top 20. With some very tidy help from Thuauxy and some unknown Selle Italia rider, I skated into the last corner three abreast and simply dug holes all the way to the finish. I had a handful of riders pass me in the last hundred and I'm not sure on the final place, but I reckon 20-something should be a good guess. It was then time to resume the usual position in the van and enjoy the very buckled feeling heading back to Belgium.