I’ve arrived; Matt Gilmore said “hello” to me today here at the Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 – wow!
It’s the Chocolate Jacques team presentation during the six tonight and Matt is here as part of that gig. “Rambo” is here too – Niko Eeckhout, last June in Antwerp at the Belgian elite champs he was in the break with Boonen; the Tomeke fans had their man as a cert to win.
We weren’t quite so sure and so it proved, as Eekhout left Boonen lengths back to take the red, black and yellow jersey. He does look like he’s OD-ed on the sun lamp since then though.
There’s a large contingent of British riders here for the junior 3 day, their Federation Pinarellos are every bit as nice as anything the pros are riding.
Let’s hope they keep them in one piece. Lloyd and Skubala from GB just won the junior madsion and take the overall lead after day two – can’t be bad.
Peter Schep and Andreas Beikirch are out, sick but Marc Hester is back.
We’ll be lucky if there’s 20% of the seats filled tonight; sponsors don’t like empty seats.
De Fauw and Aeschbach took the three lap time trial by a whisker from Bruno and Franco. But Franco likes the cookies we got for him today, so there’s no problems with morale.
Franco just got me an interview with Bruno, his English is very good and his answers were considered and full – an easy guy to talk to.
Despite the fact that the Chocolade Jacques team presentation was on tonight and they had a “stars from the past” spot with Roger Rosiers (1971 Paris-Roubaix winner), Frans Verbeeck (twice a Het Volk winner), and a very trim Francesco Moser, they aren’t getting the paying public through the door. Our boy Marc just won the devil – more flowers for the cabin.
Flying lap’s now – Franco is quick, but De Fauw is quicker. Marc says that the one lapper hurts the most out of the whole programme. Last race of the night – 50 minute chase, going into it we have Risi/Marvulli and Keisse/Villa on the zero lap but the Swiss lead on points.
After 15 minutes the race catches light and the speed cranks-up a little. The string is much-depleted tonight though, there are only ten teams up, there should be 13. Beikirch, Schep and Traksel are out, and Hester is riding the individual events but not the big chase.
Marc has just gone on the attack with Marco Villa, big changes from that first chase five days ago. De Fauw is struggling tonight, Aeschbach has to do a lot of work to keep them in the race.
Edwin Starr is asking us to; “Stop her on sight” as the little teams make full use of a lull to nick a lap back. With 13 minutes to go, Bob Slippens is hurting as he tries to recover at the top of the banking. Franco is drinking a lot in the chase tonight, not a good sign.
The race has gone flat again but at least the music is good as we get Bob Sinclar and “Love generation.” Eventually Slippens and Stam win the chase and it’s time to pack-up.
I hate to be a whinge, but it wasn’t a great night of racing. Franco said that every minute had seemed like five – I know what he means. Later, back at the main cabin; “Marc, I know it’s trivial, but what do you do with those little feeding bottles we hand you-up, after you’ve had your drink?”
Marc; “I launch ’em over the fence!” That would explain why I can’t find them.
One night to go, pay day tomorrow and everyone is happy – so please can we get a decent race on Tueday night?