Sunday came my first win of the season at GP Oetingen in Belgium!
It was the first edition of a typical northern race: a circuit to repeat ten times, each lap we had to pass through two cobbles sectors and a small hill, obviously with a lot of wind! The race was tough from the start, but the real selection came about the sixth lap, when one of the strongest teams in women’s cycling: the SD Worx, opened the fan in a narrow street (just over two meters) with a lot of side wind, so the group arrived on the two cobbles sectors in all stretched, on the short wall the peloton broke up and we remained eighteen athletes in the lead. Of the Valcar Travel&Service managed to stay ahead in two, me and Vittoria Guazzini. I have to thank my teammate very much because, particularly on the last lap, she pulled and collaborated with other teams to go and pick up two athletes who had gone on a break-away. On the last hill there was an attack from Marianne Vos and Amy Pieters and we only got in ten at the last kilometre to play the victory. I decided to take the Vos wheel because I know it’s a great spriter, but not being a pure one usually she goes for a long sprint. So it was and I managed to pass her in the last 50 meters even though my legs were painful.
After arriving I was incredulous, getting on the podium with D’Hoore and Vos was something incredible. For me they have always been two idols and being able to put my wheel in front of them made me immensely proud of both myself and my team!
To make you understand what Joline D’Hoore represents for me, I would like to tell you that in my senior year’s essay in the section dedicated to English I had inserted an interview with this athlete who was fresh from the bronze medal in the omnium of the Rio Olympics. Imagine how many emotions I felt when getting on the podium with her!
Raising your arms to the sky is always an emotion but Sunday was a victory of great value for me!
On Wednesday I took part at the Danilith Nokere Koerse, another race with all the typical characteristics of competitions in Belgium to which, compared to Sunday’s, we must also add rain and cold. The conditions were really extreme and the race very hard, although there were no challenging hills (only that of the arrival which we had to complete six times), we had to face twenty-three sectors of cubbles that, wet due to rain, were very insidious. About 40 km from the arrival the group broke down, we remained about 15 athletes in the lead and then Pieters, Klein and Brown, three great passiste, attacked on a cubble secotor and managed to take advantage. We were cought up by a small group and my Valcar Travel&Service with Vittoria Guazzini, Silvia Persico, Chiara Consonni and Eleonora Gasparrini immediately took command of the chase. Unfortunately we didn’t find much cooperation from the other teams and, as I wasn’t feeling my best, we gave up so the break-away arrived with about twenty seconds. I tried to make the sprint of the small group but my energies were exhausted so I finished twelfth.
I can say that this firsts races in the north ended in the best way: with a victory, but above all with the awareness on the part of the team that in races of this type we can be protagonists and we have shown that we can compete with the strongest teams in the world!
On Sunday I will take part at the Trofeo Binda in Cittiglio, racing in Italy is always nice. Although I am aware that the race is not suitable for my characteristics I will give my best! Follow us live because FINALLY women’s cycling will also be live with all the races of the next three weeks!!!
I leave you attached my calendar of the next appointments:
- 21st March Trofeo A.Binda
- 25th March Classic Brugge-De Panne
- 28th March Gent-Wevelgem
- 4th April Ronde Van Vlaanderen
- 11th April Paris-Roubaix
Leave your comments or questions below here!
Anton Vos and Bart Hazen’s pictures
Congratulations!!! Your perseverance has paid off! We are cheering you on from here in California! How smart of you to know the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents, and to win over Vos and be on the Podium with D’Hoore seems unbelievable, but a testament to your focus and fitness!
Love from afar!
Michelle and Grover