18 April 2006


Race getting underway, 100m done 138.9km to go.

I love racing close to home, you get to sleep in your own bed, plus the drive is only an hour or so, makes a nice change for everyone. 115km on the GPS, just up the road really. The sun was trying to bust through the cloud as we headed north, up to nothing again. We had a big team of eight again, some of the local riders coming out of the woodwork, and most of the regulars. The start list was huge, almost 200 riders, most of the Dutch teams were racing against all the pro teams from Holland, and most the surrounding neighbouring countries present as well. It was also the longest race allowed for the women under UCI rules, so we were looking forward to it, our girls love a longer race and were ready for action. This was also the first race in the ‘Top Competition’ a Dutch series run in most of the UCI races for the rest of the season. Loes won it last year, so she gets to wear the Jersey she won last year at the first race of the series.

Amber just hanging out in the main bunch.

Racing started, an as usual, I had everything organised in time, it was nice to be under not to much stress, with a late start 14:30, gave me a little bit more time than usual. We all left the start line pretty fast, and there was riders dropping off the back almost in the first 10km, it was going to be a race that doesn’t forgive for many of the club girls. The pace was still fast as we hit the 40km mark, things were starting to hot up as we started head for one of the local dykes. She was a big one as well, about 7km long, with a horrendous head wind. Jockeying for position before they got there, the pace was wicked, 200 girls trying to squeeze onto a small road, precariously perched on top, it’s going to be messy. Here is where the first real change in the race started. Linda, and Vera were in the first attacking break, with a bunch of nine, they were off. The peloton took a while to get themselves orgainsed before they started chasing. Most of the stronger teams had a rider up the front, we had two, but as always, someone started hunting the leaders down.

Some fast climbing from the second group, hey can you spot our rider here?

There was some pretty cool climbs in the middle of the race, through an awesome forest. Looks great, and through the gaps in the trees I can see some really nice looking singletrack going on. Must remember this place, as it looks like there could be some nice riding here (later found out it rates #8th in the country, and our local tracks shown here a while ago rates as #16th on the same chart). There was plenty of spectators up on the biggest climbs, giving a nice little bit of atmosphere in the tight forest roads.

Racing through the forest, the last 10 km. And a nice little hill, great for Holland.

The leading nine had a gap of about 2mins at one stage, and managed to keep it for about 70km. But it was not to be, team tactics changed everything, can’t say much, as our tactic’s are our secret weapon in most of the races. The group came together with 20km to go. On the last two climbs there was many attacks, we were organising a few, and so where most of the other teams. In the last 5km it was really fast, with a couple of long downhills, then turning into the finish straight. We heard nothing on the radio, no info at all. But upon finishing, we found out it was a really strong finish, we sprinted, and managed to get a 2nd with Mirjam, and the 3rd with Loes. It was good, a smaller team won the race, so we didn’t loose any points to any of our competition, which is sweet.
Time for some sleep as we are taking a day off to watch the Amstel Gold Classic in the bottom of the Netherlands. VIP passes as well, so be nice to get a good spot to watch, some good food, and all the beer you can drink (sorry it’s not the Gluten free type, but I have to drive anyways.

Just around the corner from the finishing kilometer, close to 80km/hr for the leaders.

More photos in the links to your top right. don't forget the password ro get into it: benny

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