Team Cyclingnews.com - 2005
Team Journal Entry - July 4, 2005, by Glen Chadwick
Midsummer's cobbled dream
Well, I'm currently sitting in the team van on our way to Switzerland for a one day race - the Tour de Jura! (It's a province in Switzerland). It has been raining since we left the HQ in Booischot and have been encountering loads of road works! We were told that this time it should only be a six hour drive but I can see that blowing out in a big way!! So for now I'll give you all the low on some smack that went down on Wednesday, The race was Int. Wielertrofee in Oetingen, a nice summer 1.2 cobble classic - yeah, right! The weather had been perfect for nearly over two weeks, with lots of sun and temperatures reaching the mid thirties. But of course come race day the storm clouds rolled in and rain came.
The line up:
From the gun the squad was in the action, with Jeremy making the EB (early break) It went pretty much in the first few ks! Little did we know some crazy dutchy had missed the start and was chasing way back with his head down tail up and he rode straight into the back window of our team car which was car number 33 in the convoy (??) It was a full-on Cipollini special - broken glass, blood and a set of legs dangling out of the Team Cyclingnews Peugeot! I think both Daniel and Eddie had the daylights scared out of them as they didn't see him coming, but who would?
Back to the race. We had Jeremy up the road with seven others gaining ground on the sleepy peloton. The rest of us for the moment were just keeping up front out of trouble and riding a bit of defence! Around the 65km mark we had a small climb (as Daniel put it) well known throughout the cycling world as the Muur (Flemish for wall) van Geraardsbergen, an infamous 1km climb up to and around a church which starts off on bitumen for the first few hundred metres but turns into a nasty steep cobbled climb where you try and do your best not to ride on the cobbles but on the foot paths on the side!
They are very narrow, and 185 riders can't all fit on them so it's a bit of a fight! If you're at the back forget it...your race is over as usually somebody will fall or stop pedaling and that causes a bit of a domino effect and suddenly a road block while the front runners are over the climb and speeding down the other side! Normally you sprint at the finish of a race but when they throw in an important race breaking climb like that, well lets just say it was on! I managed to be right at the front which made it a lot easier,
The storms had eased off as we hit the climb so still a bit slippery but no problems, down the other side one poor lad just in front of me who had held it together to make it over in the front group took one of the corners rather hard which was ok but rode through the smallest of puddles and ended up running himself up and over a gutter body first! Never a good thing to see! After 20 or 30 kilometres small groups were forming back up to make a somewhat smaller peloton of about 60 riders. Jeremy was still up the road but solo now as the rest of the guys he was with couldn't't stay with him.
Just before the start of the local laps, which were four laps of 15km with two sections of nasty nasty cobbles at 2km a piece, Jeremy was unfortunately reeled in; but he had a strong ride out there - job well done! So we hit the circuits with the team still intact. But each time over the cobbles the peloton dwindled; Cam and Cody were still in the pack with me - Cody battling with a broken spoke in his very buckled rear wheel! With two laps to go the thunder stormed in and the lightning came down and the Rabobank lads lit it up over the first set of cobbles which split the pack! I managed to get back across to them on the next section after missing the original move.
There were 11 of us up there with the chasing group hot on our tails, and there was no time for silly games. I attacked the group on the second last set of cobbles, taking three other lads with me. Then on the final stretch of cobbles rode it down to three, and I couldn't shake the other two off, so we ran off the last section flat out as the chasers were right on our tails. I was in front with only 500m to go which was the last place I wanted to so I risked sitting up in the hope that the other two would keep going and it worked! 200m out the lad sitting in second hit out down the right, I missed the jump and went down the left no worries though I ran across in second and just missed out on winning the Golden Cobble (like the one in Paris - Roubaix but painted gold). Cam came through with a hard fought 28th and Cody battled on with his bad wheel and a lighter bike (due to the spoke cutting his frame to bits) to finish a minute or so down!
So, like I said, the next stop is Switzerland and the Tour de Jura - till the next report, take it easy and stay vertical!