Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004
First races of the year, and a win
After the snow of last week, it has returned to normal Belgian weather; rain and wind. Last week we had our first race of the season, Brussel - Opwijk. I managed to crash, and then after I got back onto the peloton I destroyed my rear wheel on the cobbles. Game Over! I had to wait about 1 minute on the side of the road, but by then all the groups were gone. I got back to a small group and we rode to the finish circuit.
Yesterday we raced Vlaamse Pijl Harelbeke, which is a nice race which goes over the climbs of the Tour of Flanders; mostly cobbled climbs of about 17 percent . I tried jumping away a few times early on, but to no avail, we would get 20 seconds and then would be brought back. Just before the first climb, Harro managed to get in a small group. As he hit the first climb his seat slipped down about 10cm, making his bike nearly unrideable on the cobbles. Hilton made the front split on the climb, and Cameron and I were in the first 30.
As we hit the next climb, the Koppenberg at a nasty 22 percent, there was a crash. We had to get off and walk, hobble, whatever it took to get up the thing! As we crested the top the race was in bits, splattered across the windswept false flats of West Flanders. I couldn't stay with Cam's group and found myself in no-mans land with 50km to go. I was caught by a small group, but they weren't really going. As we hit the flat cobbles with 30km to go I jumped away to try to cross the gap to Cam. For the next 10km I was within 10 seconds... then I created my own cobbled section as I blew to smithereens! As I got back to the finish I found the team had had a lot of bad luck, Harro's seat was one thing, Hilton fell hard onto his head after his pedal came off, and Chookman had a nasty crash resulting in an exploded Record rear mech.
When we finally got home we found that Phil had opened the Cyclingnews.com - Down Under victory account with a great win in a season opening kermis race! Good job Funky! Maybe our luck is changing.