Well It’s been on the cards all season and last weekend in the town of Ghoy I took my first win in Belgium.

Crossing the line in first place - a great feeling.

Like always the attacks came from km 1 and I managed to get away midway through the first lap – and this was to be the move that stuck.

At first we were four, then three, and then six, but knowing we were being chased down I tested the water by attacking coming out of one of the corners onto a drag with 30km to go.

This was still a long way from the finish but I felt it was the right time to go, and so it proved.

I quickly established a good gap with the car being pulled up behind me and I knew this was as good a chance as ever to get my first win over here.

And so I did, all the way to the finish, soloing my way to the line.

In glorious, sepia solitude.

On the final lap I began to notice two riders chasing me… two riders that weren’t in the original move.

This obviously made me a bit more cautious and so I stepped on it even more.

Into the last km I knew it would be mine… the acknowledgement from the marshals, supporters on the side of the road, etc, was reinforcement, but I still didn’t want to take any chances by backing off.

200m to go and the start of the finish straight and applause was my cue to relax a bit more. I had done it! My maiden win in Belgium!

You could say the hard way, but done in style, and a way that I think has earned me some respect.

The gap to the two riders was around 20 seconds by the line, a comfortable winning margin but enough to keep me on my toes to the end.

Riding out and back to/from the race gave me a nice 170km in the sun. Obviously this meant I wouldnt be able to make it back with flowers and trophy.

Solution… trophy in my bag and flowers given back to Miss Lessines 2010… a gesture she appreciated I think!

Now I’m off the mark and not chasing the first win, I know there will be many more to come.

The hard work and perseverance is starting to pay off.

Ghoy Kermis

1. PATTEN Daniel GBR19860711 ASFRA RACING TEAM 3:02:00
2. DEGAND Thomas BEL19860513 PROVINCE DU HAINAUT +20
3. BILLE Gaëtan BEL19880406 ROYAL CYCLISTS PESANT CLUB LIE +20
4. ROUET Rudy BEL19850105 PROVINCE DE BRABANT-WALLON +50
5. DHAENE Maarten BEL19840209 DIRK VERSTUYFT CYCLING TEAM +1:53
6. REMORY Stijn BEL19861023 DIRK VERSTUYFT CYCLING TEAM +2:15
7. DENAMUR Patrick BEL19730116 SECTION HENNUYERE +2:15
8. SIX Sébastien BEL19710327 MULTISPORT CYCLING TEAM +3:15
9. BACKAERT Frederik BEL19900313 ISOREX CYCLING TEAM +3:15
10. GAWLIK Adam POL19800701 CC CAMBRESIEN +3:15
11. VAN DEN NOORTGATE Kevin BEL19890707 NEW HEEBRA-LOMBARDEN +3:15
12. DE WITTE Jonathan BEL19880824 PROVINCE DU HAINAUT +3:15
13. GREMELPONT Axel BEL19900625 LOTTO-PREDICTOR-VC ARDENNES +3:15
14. COPPENS Matthias BEL19871208 KEUKENS REDANT CYCLING TEAM +3:15
15. JORY Chris AUS19870312 ASFRA RACING TEAM +3:15
16. BAEYENS Tommy BEL19900611 KEUKENS REDANT CYCLING TEAM +3:15
17. GENETTE Joël BEL19750819 TEAM VERANDAS WILLEMS CC CHEVI +3:15
18. DE TROYER Tim BEL19900811 KSV DEERLIJK GAVERZICHT VZW +3:15
19. DE ROOSE Alexander BEL19910130 FLEMISH CYCLING PROJECTS +3:15
20. DELECLUSE Jérémy BEL19820330 MULTISPORT CYCLING TEAM +3:15

Winner's flowers, trophy - and better bookies odds now too.
Winner's flowers, trophy - and better bookies odds now too. (click for the full image)

I raced again a couple of days ago in a kermesse in Schellebelle.

Again made the break, taking 4 primies and came close to making it back to back wins, but not quite.

Everyone took a chance or two to get away in the final 10km or so but was to end up 7th.

But along with 4 primies not a bad days work. And at 4-1 on the betting board, it seems I’m really starting to establish myself in Belgium too.

Me? 4-1? They must be mad.

Schellebelle Kermis

1. LEMBRECHTS NICOLAAS W.C. VOS SPORTIEF SINT- LENAARTS 02:37:00
2. DE SCHEEMAEKER DAVY PWS EIJSSEN CYCLING TEAM :00:02
3. EECKHOUT KURT WETTERSE DAKWERKEN-AUTOGLAS: WETTEREN CT
4. EECKHOUT KEVIN SUNWEB-REVOR CYCLING TEAM
5. DE PAEPE PIETER WC SOENENS- JARTAZI-CONSTRUKT GLAS
6. DE DEYN JüRGEN FLEMISH CYCLING PROJECTS
7. PATTEN DANIEL ASFRA RACING TEAM
8. VAN BROEKHOVEN GUY POORTEN FERYN TEAM
9. VERDONCK PATRICK ENTENTE CYCLISTE DE WALLONIE :00:22
10. BAEYENS GERT WETTERSE DAKWERKEN-AUTOGLAS: WETTEREN CT
11. VEJMELKA DANIEL COLBA-MERCURY-DOURPHONIE
12. DE MUNSTER GREGORY COLBA-MERCURY-DOURPHONIE :02:38
13. MOSTAERT WIM VL TECHNICS – ABUTRIEK CYCLING TEAM
14. WUYTENS KIM WETTERSE DAKWERKEN-AUTOGLAS: WETTEREN CT
15. VAN DEN NOORTGATE KEVIN NEW HEEBRA-LOMBARDEN
16. BEULENS DAVID WIELERSPORTVER. ARTEVELDE VZW GENT
17. SABO PEDRO DMC- CYCLING TEAM
18. DE WEIRDT GINO WIELERTEAM DECOCK-SPORTIVO MOORSELE
19. VERNAECKT THOMAS SUNWEB-REVOR CYCLING TEAM
20. VEREECKE PHILIP ISOMAX – KENTUCKY CT MIDDELKERKE

Sometimes it's just not your day to win...

Worked over by the Mafia

Last week actually started with the experience of being worked over by the West Vlaanderen ‘Mafia’.

Being warned that it would be a race that would be heavily controlled by the locals, I realised what I was in for once I got in the break away group.

In brief what should have been a clear race winning break turned out not to be and much money was exchanged to get the result that was wanted!

It can be another feature of the racing in Belgium but I had not seen it as bad as this before, and a local Belgian rider who I know said likewise.

At least I did still finish in the prize money but this was the only consolation… prize money collected and back to Oudenaarde I went.

An English rider on an East Vlaanderen team – think I was always going to be up against it that day!

Should be an interesting few weeks ahead with more kermesses, a couple of Interclub races, plus a pro kermesse – all this before heading to the National Championships at the end of the month.

Big month coming up!