Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004
European Cup XC #1, Thuin, Belgium, May 2, 2004
On the podium
By Joshua Fleming
Well, last Sunday was the first European Cup, held in Thuin, Belgium. Nice town about 50 km from Brussels. Weather was nice - quite warm, around 25C.
Arrived early in the morning thanks to the lift off some friends that live just around the corner from me. Course was tough, six climbs per lap with three of them real steep. Downhills where rough and pretty fast, which all put together, made a hard six laps.
Good line-up of riders: Filip Meirhaeghe, Bas Peters and Bart Brentjens were just a few of the strong riders. Sid [Taberlay] and Chris [Jongewaard] were two other Aussies who lined up.
Race started and after about 200m there was a already a crash already; managed to get around that one. My legs where screaming - just could not go hard enough early on to make front group, so I settled into a good pass and worked my way through from about 12th spot.
Two laps to go and legs where going good, but by this time the front group had blown apart and it was Sid and Bart at the front of race; I was slowing coming through, picking up a few riders a lap, but first and second were out of my reach.
Race was over and I came in third. Sid was second and Chris fifth after he had some problems with his bike. It's only about two weeks or so to the first World Cup in Spain, so I will be looking at a few things I can change to get a better start.
Plenty of road races going on in between mountain biking; hard to judge how you are going in these races. Weekend before last we were in Switzerland near Bern, about a 10 hour drive from Belgium. Felt strong in race, but guys were riding off the front one at a time into some strong headwinds, and before you knew it, a strong group has formed up the road and race is over. The training you get from these races is awesome - average speed over a hilly, windy course was 45km/h.
Hope I did not rave on to long for some of you; off to Holland this weekend for 200km road race, Omloop der Kempen.