Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004

Happy but disappointed

Druivenkoers Overijse, Belgium, August 24 & Aarschot criterium, August 26, 2004

Leigh Palmer
Photo ©: Team CN
Photo ©: Team CN
Team mechanic Nick
Photo ©: Team CN
You want me to do what?
Photo ©: Team CN
Phil Thuaux
Photo ©: Team CN

Been a while since I last wrote (France - see pictures) but shall give you a run down on how things have gone for the past week or so with the running of Druivenkoers Overijse and the Aarschot Criterium.

As I said in my last report, Overijse was coming up and I was looking for a good ride. I had a decent performance there last year and was looking for much of the same. It is a real tough race with two big circuits and then seven 14km laps which are raced over three climbs. The course is pretty much my training ground when I want to go out and have a tough four or five hours so I knew all the roads and climbs and by the look of things it was going to be a tougher day than last year. Signed on and received our Druiven (grapes) and a drink, palmed that off to Daniel in the car and then got on the start line. Dark clouds rolled in and we rolled out into a heavy storm.

The first lap was pretty dodgy with the rain and the carbon wheels we had in weren't assisting in the slowing down process as we came to corners, but fortunately the rain was easing and at the end of the first lap blue sky was appearing. In today's race I was keen for a good ride and it was about this time when the blue sky appeared that I looped off the front with a Lotto rider. We were away for 5km through the finish line but were quickly reeled in. On the remainder of the second big lap I tried a few more attacks but nothing was being let go yet.

Onto the finish laps and I was feeling good, active at the front, in a number of good moves but as in Zottegem the previous week, I was missing all the right moves. At this point in the race 15 or so riders were up the front, so still some prizes up for grabs but after another failed attempt in a break I slipped too far back before the climb and over the climb another 15 or so riders rode away. I tried to get across with a group of five but after a 10km chase we were reeled back in. Back to the bunch, we caught some riders dropped from the front and since all the prizes were up the road, the bunch resigned itself and cruised the last few laps. Happy and disappointed again to be active but miss out on the right moves. Sven, Tom and Hilton were also in the same boat. Having cruised the last few laps gave me a chance to have a chat with some guys and the Bodysol-Brustor rider James Vlandaschoot is one of the good guys. Always up for a chat and a friendly hello.

Had a day easy and then raced a criterium in Aarschot, just 10km down the road. Raining in the morning so headed out for a ride as I was not keen on riding a crit in the wet and needed to get something in. As it turned out, the weather fined up and I lined up with 100km in my legs. There were a lot of primes on offer and at this time of year, with no regular income, the account was looking low so needed a paper in my wallet. With primes every five laps of the 1.5km circuit I headed out early and spent the first 13 laps either by myself or with one or two others. Came back and then went again and the bunch was gradually being whittled down until with 10 laps to go Hamish and myself were in a group of five. Unfortunately Hamish fell with three to go so it was me and two Belgians. One guy paid the other and they one-two'd me with a lap to go. Eventually finished third and with 100 Euro to my name I can finally eat again (slight exaggeration).

So, a few good days training followed and now ready for Schaal Sells-Merksem UCI 1.3 on Tuesday and then Midden-Zeeland UCI1.2 on Saturday and Leuven UCI 1.3 on Sunday.

Till then,


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