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Results and Reports for May 11-17, 2002


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Grote Prijs van Rotterdam - GP Rotterdam Derny race

May 12, 2002

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Dangerous Duo
Photo: © Margaret Hemsley

By Margaret Hemsley (Aus) Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung
I received an invitation in late January to the inaugural GP Rotterdam Derby race on the strength of my National Championships win in Australia.The organisers were hoping for & got a star studded field. It was with some trepidation that I accepted my invitation, I had never even seen a derny race little lone ridden in one before. I hardly imagined my Aussie summer Wednesday morning jaunts behind Warren Macdonald's (ACTAS coach) clapped out 125cc were quite the preparation required to race 18 girls & Dernys on a tight 800m oval circuit. Surprisingly it stood me in reasonable stead! My team Nürberger Versicherung supported decision to ride despite having an important Category 1 UCI race in Bern, Switzerland. My team mates performed fantastically in this race with Swede Jenny Algelid second behind Swiss rider Priska Dopperman & Kirsten Schleitle taking the bunch sprint for fourth.

We were put up the Van der Valk Hotel Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel, along with Chantal Beltman (Acca Due) & Rasa Polikevicute the Lithuanian World Champion. Now my Italian is not very good (my Lithuanian is worse) but it was very clear even from the night before that Rasa was very nervous. I was nervous too, but I was a little more experienced in the Criterium style of racing & riding behind a motor bike. It is always a massive shock when a rider accustomed to Italian and French racing hits Holland and if you are not totally comfortable around the corners life can be very difficult.

The Rotterdam cycling crowd always put on a good show for the sponsors. Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel is a crowd pleaser in Holland where she is viewed as the queen of cycling. I was lining up for the toilet behind a small girl of three or four in a tiny (but very baggy) Farm Frites knicks & Jersey, & her mother. Her mother asked if I was racing (I was in my Cycling kit complete with shoes) I nodded & smiled in a friendly fashion at her little girl. The mother relayed in Dutch that I was a rider to the girl, the girl said something I did not understand in Dutch with a shy smile and her mother said "Oh she's not going for you she wants Leontien to win..." That about summed the crowd loyalties up!

I introduced myself to my German Derny driver, Gert Gaesler, before the start. I explained to him that I was inexperienced but he fobbed me off and went straight into race tactics in German. "Ok we are going to stay near the back of the field, we will do a few laps behind Leontien so you can watch what she does and then we will take on the field towards the end!" He was perhaps a touch on the skinny side but he was a fantastic pacer and teacher, nursing me through the corners at the start and then lifting the pace to gut wrenching as I got more comfortable behind him. I had an absolute ball, the racing was fast - up to 55km/h - and fun, riding two or three abreast around the tight corners with the bike on a 50 degree angle. I suffered my way into sixth place with more than half the field lapped by Leontien and her Derny driver the legendary Joop Zijlaard.

All in all it was a fun afternoon, the notoriously terrible Dutch weather was warm sunny and calm, I had a new cycling experience and I am keen to try it again. I am off to France next week for the ten day stage race Tour de l'Aude I will keep you posted.


Start List

1 Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel (Ned) Farm Frites  - 3 time Olympic Champion
2 Rasa Polikevicute (Ltu) Acca Due Lorena             - World Champion 2001
3 Mirijam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites Hartol           - Leader of 2002 World Cup series
4 Alessandra Capelotto (Ita) Powerplate-Bik           - 1997 World Champion
5 Evy van Damme (Bel)                                 - Belgian National Champion
6 Sissy van Alebeek (Ned) FFH                         - Dutch National Champion
7 Mirella van Mellis (Ned) Vlaanderen 2002            - European Champion
8 Daphney van den Brand (Ned)                         - Dutch cyclo cross Champion
9 Chantel Beltman (Ned) Acca Due Lorena               - Silver medal RR World Champs 2000
10 Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) FFH                       - Swedish National Champion
11 Suzanne de Goede (Ned)                             - Dutch Junior National Team
12 Margaret Hemsley (Aus) Nurnberger                  - Australian National Champion
13 Sandra Missbach (Ger)                              - Team Ton van Bremmelen sports-Novilon
14 Esther van der Helm (Ned)                          - Dutch National Team
15 Corine Dorland (Ned) Team Powerplate-Bik           - Dutch Mountain Bike Champion
16 Heidy van de Vijver (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002          - 4 time Belgian National Champion
17 Vanessa Guyton-Cheatley (NZl)                      - Team Vlaanderen 2002
18 Christa Pirard (Ned)                               - Team Ton van Bremmelen sports Novilon


1 Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel
2 Mirijam Melchers
3 Chantal Beltman
4 Sissy van Alebeek
5 Heidi van de Vijver
6 Margaret Hemsley
7 Suzanne de Goede
8 Corine Dorland

Previous Results from the Netherlands