Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004

79th Schaal Sels-Merksem - 1.3, Belgium, August 31, 2004

Smashed in Schaal

By Cody Stevenson

Well, I'm back in the saddle after a two week sickness endured lay off. First race back, Schaal Sels-Merksem, 200k... super! I was actually feeling OK (read: fresh legs), and got away in a group of 10 guys after about 20km, David also made the group.

So, 10 guys swapping off at 55kph... and still no big gap?!

Ah... no Vlaanderen + no Lotto = no breakaway!

We were caught as we didn't have the right mix of teams. Three guys then rode away, and stayed away to finish by 12 seconds after having a gap of eight minutes over the peloton.

Funky decided to spend 60km in no-man's land between the front group and peloton and was unfortunately caught as we hit the crosswind and cobble-fest which littered the final 70km of the race.

In the previously mentioned crosswind, cobble infestation is where the proverbial hit the fan and the 130 rider peloton was massacred into six groups of snot-ridden, lung-burning, leg-smashing cycling nutters.

I was in group 3 which was only 500 metres behind group 2 which in turn was another 500 metres behind the front group of about 40; sad to say the aforementioned groups would not see the front group again!

David and Hilton were in the front and after fourth last year, I new David was geed for a good ride; unfortunately he missed the next split on the finish circuit, but luckily Hilton made the group and took a good 8th place.

So now I have Delta Profronde tomorrow, a crit Sunday, a Kermis Thursday, followed by some more Kermis races, then our final race for the season, Kampionschap van Vlaanderen on the 17th.

After that, it is off on the big birdie back to Oz, the Hornsby to Warners Bay and hopefully the Sun Tour (fingers crossed).




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