Tag Archive for ‘Belgian Races’
With our Flatlands boys Douglas Dewey and Llewellyn Kinch heading south to race in France for 2013 we decided we’d best have a word with Rayner Fund rider Joshua Cunningham to see what’s happening in Belgium?
Here’s what he had to say:
Having had Michael Mørkøv’s take on de Ronde, we thought we’d chat to a man a bit closer to home about his experiences in what is at least in the top three of the world’s single day races – along with Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix.
The Tour of Flanders was one of the few races left on Russell Downing’s ‘to do’ list – but now he can wear the T-shirt.
We thought it would be good to speak to a man who was in the thick of the action at the Tour of Flanders last Sunday, across those cruel cobbles and over the brutal bergs. Step forward Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Mørkøv; team pursuit flyer, Six Day star, polka dot jersey wearer in the Tour de France, and Classics escape artist.
Michael’s been quieter than normal over the cobbles this year, but his greyhound build isn’t the best for the Siberian conditions which have plagued early season Euro racing. We caught up with him on the Tuesday evening after Cancellara had broken 200 hard men’s hearts.
For 2013 the 29 year-old decided to go back to the drawing board; train using the methods which worked so well for 2009 and join a team where the ratio of chiefs to Indians suited his perception of how a team should be built. The surprise for observers came in the team he chose – new Swiss Pro Continental squad, IAM.
But as with Gerald Ciolek’s rebirth at MTN, Haussler’s choice has been a good one – with 19th in Het Nieuwsblad, 13th in Milan-Sanremo, 11th in E3 and 4th in Gent-Wevelgem he’s stamped himself as a favourite for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. VeloVeritas spoke to Haussler as the tension clicked up towards today’s Ronde, the biggest sales spike of the year for Belgium’s breweries, and before Heinrich’s superb sixth place.
Dan Patten has been a regular blogger on our site over the years. Dan came late to cycling, a talented runner but a niggling injury saw him turn to the bike. His first race was in July 2006, it took him 10 races to get his first win. We’ve always respected his single mindedness in pursuing his ‘Flatlands Dream’ – but for 2013 it’s ‘all change’ for the man from Essex.
He’ll shortly be crossing a bigger stretch of water than the La Manche to race his bike – the vast North Atlantic. After another season of solid results in Belgium he’s decided to change direction and pursue the ‘American Dream.’ Here’s what he had to say to us recently.
VeloVeritas and chums were over at the Belgian season opening Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne Brussels Kuurne semi-classics. Unfortunately the latter was cancelled but we still snapped away – here’s a selection of our favourite images from the weekend.
Our pal Vik always gives us stick for attending Het Nieuwsblad; ‘the race has sold out, it’s all glossy marketing!’ and to an extent he’s right. But when you’re out there in the Flemish Ardennes and the wind is trying to take the skin of your face and there’s ice on the puddles beside the ‘kassein,’ there’s no doubting that this is the real deal.
I wish I’d tried it; pals Dave, Ivan, Viktor, and our Editor Martin all did – save up your dough over the winter, take the ferry, doss in the cold little room in Gent. The ride out in the rain to the kermis, change in someone’s parlour, the inevitable punctures and kickings, the phone call home from a payphone on Sunday night . . .
But at least they tried it. Carrying on the tradition is ‘our man’ Michael Nicholson, but the kickings are getting less and less as he starts his third serious Flatlands Campaign.
Our man with his finger on the Flanders pulse, Vik, first tipped us off about this gentleman at the end of the 2011 season.
Llewellyn Kinch was getting up there on the Belgian results websites and onto Vik’s radar.
Here are the background questions we asked, from the end of the 2011 season.
It was back in the spring when we last spoke to Douglas Dewey; he’d just won Gent-Staden, the first big race on the Belgian amateur calendar.
Since then he’s ridden a very varied programme, including stage races in France and Belgium, hard fought kermises, a silver medal in the British Elite TT Championships and bronze in the British Pursuit Championship.
We thought we’d better do an end of season ‘catch up’ with the versatile Englishman.
When our friend Vik isn’t criticising me for going to Grenoble; ‘glorified kid’s tea party!’ he’s scouring the Belgian websites for the ‘next Jack Bauer.’
It was Vik (for those who don’t know, our pal pedalled the hard roads of Belgium in his day, still trains hard and is our outspoken elder statesman, observer and ‘critic in chief’) who was first to spot the Kiwi’s potential as his name edged up the results in the heartland’s kermises.
So the call came; ‘you should be talking to that Manchester laddie, Jack Cousins, he’s doing well!’
And if Vik says it, we do it. Usually.
My 2012 season began way back on the 19/02 and with my final race on the 14/10, it is finally time to relax, reflect and look ahead to the rest of 2012, 2013 and beyond!
There have been ups and there have been downs (expected as a cyclist) but the good times always outweigh the bad.
All in all I took 3 wins this year, 1 overall classement win, and 3 further podium placings amongst other 10′s.
Time again for an update as this 2012 season in Belgium continues.
Yet again the consistency has continued but also now I can happily say that consistency has been rewarded with some wins.
Victories have been near all year but found myself just missing out. However with three wins and one overall classement win in two weeks, I have finally been able to enjoy that sweet feeling of success again. It was simply about keeping the faith knowing that it was only a matter of time before the persistence paid off.
So its been way too long since my last posting. Since that mid-April time post, my race schedule has increased, my condition also (always a satisfier) whilst the weather like much of europe has continued to be mixed.
However with nice spells of nice, sunny belgium days, the good weather has outweighed those bad days….just! We’ll get the real low point of these past months out the way first and that came on my return to the UK for the National Championships, which certainly did not go to plan.
So last time I was posting about the great weather we were experiencing in Belgium at that time. Unfortunately the sun has gone and the rain has returned. Clearly 20 degrees+ in March was a treat. I’m hoping a treat that returns soon.
Nonetheless come rain or shine I have continued on my road to recovery, and in the weeks since my last posting, have recorded my first podium position of the year with a 3rd in a kermesse race in Bury.
Scotland’s Michael Nicholson was in fine form for the four stage Tour of the North, held over the Easter weekend in Ireland. He took eighth in the stage one prologue, seventh on stage two, won stage three and was 11th on stage four to give him a final second on GC behind Velo Veritas regular, James Moss (Node4-Giordana).
Before Michael came home to Bonnie Scotland to prepare for his trip to the Emerald Isle, he took time to talk to VeloVeritas about his 2012 campaign with the Flanders team.