Saturday, July 24, 2021

Coming Close in Merelbeke


Best part of 200 riders, good crowds, the music playing, the beer flowing and the kermesse burgers cooking… all the elements of a typical kermesse here in Merelbeke, Belgium.

I made the point of being on the front from the start here, knowing like usual it would explode from the off and not wanting to be caught too far back when it did.

Not long into the first lap and I found myself in the first move off the front but this was to be pulled back only a few kms later. After a few laps in the bunch I thought it was time to try again.

Best part of 200 riders, good crowds, the music playing, the beer flowing and the kermesse burgers cooking... all the elements of a typical kermesse here in Merelbeke , Belgium.
I spent a lot of time in breaks or off the front.

Making good use of the bike path and the cobbles dividing the path from the road, again typical of racing in Belgium I was back at the front.

After getting off the front numerous times over the next few laps, the elastic finally split and I was away.

A group of 13 formed at the front and we worked well. There was never really any let-up in the speed… everyone was eager to make it work.

Primes came and went without too much disruption… most being more focused on staying out to the finish. : Maybe in England a group of this size, working as well as it did and building up a gap as it did, would have been home and dry however in Belgium it’s never over – especially when ‘kermesse kings’ Patrick Cocquyt, Tony Bracke and co. are chasing.

Still working well, I began to think about how I would play this one going into the last couple of laps… when would the right time to launch an attack be or to save it for the finale?

Best part of 200 riders, good crowds, the music playing, the beer flowing and the kermesse burgers cooking... all the elements of a typical kermesse here in Merelbeke , Belgium.
Everyone worked well, and were keen to get a move on.

With everyone working well I knew going too early could be a mistake as it would be pulled back. As with many races here the break looked like it would go to the finish in one piece and the winner decided right at the death.

At that point everyone is tired having worked hard from start to finish and so it comes down to who plays it right and who has that extra bit when it matters. Going into the last few km’s we were still working hard and there was a lot more shouting… both signs that we were being hunted.

A little look behind and a group of 20 was on our heels. I jumped, hoping that there would be a slight relax in the groups as they formed into one but a few hundred metres later I was back.

This was going down to a sprint…

32 riders going for the win. I got myself towards the head of the pack within the last km but the race moved right and I found myself too boxed-in when the sprint really opened up.

There was no way through with the group spreading across the road. Cocquyt took the win, I placed 23rd. Maybe a little disappointed with the end position given the race I had, but content with the performance I gave in what was a real exciting race to be part of, so hard to be too disappointed.

Best part of 200 riders, good crowds, the music playing, the beer flowing and the kermesse burgers cooking... all the elements of a typical kermesse here in Merelbeke , Belgium.
Typical Belgian race organisation.

The big result is definitely coming… if I’m constantly putting myself into these sorts of postitions it’s only a matter of time before it comes off – watch this space!

See you next time, Dan.

Related Articles

Dan Patten Blog: Raring to Go!

The season is here and so I thought it was about time that I posted my first Dan Patten Blog entry of 2012, to fill you in on whats been happening over the winter months and what I am up to in this coming season.

George Woods – “happy to be back on my bike and racing again” (and winning in Belgium!)

It was back in July when we first heard about 21 year-old George Woods (Richardson’s Trek Racing Team) ‘doing the business’ in Belgium, we ‘had a word’ with him but with all that Tour carry-on we didn’t get round to writing the interview up. Then the other week we saw he was in the frame again, winning a 114 kilometre kermis at Deinze. High times we gave ourselves a shake and got the piece published!

Hamish Haynes – Letters from Belgium #1

Hi folks, Hamish Haynes here. Let's bring you up to speed with my season so far: In mid-February, just before returning from winter training in Spain I picked up a hamstring strain; at that moment it wasn't clear what had exactly happened. I assumed it was a minor niggle that would quickly recede, within a few days I realized a scan was necessary, fortunately it revealed only a minor muscle elongation.

Dan Patten – A Close Call in Grandglise

Came close to another win at the weekend, this time in Grandglise. I was second to an ex-pro called Jurgen Guns, who used to ride for Vlaanderen 2002 - Eddy Merckx around 1999/2000.

Wilfried Peeters – Deceuninck DS is a True Flandrien!

It must be the water in Mol in the Province of Antwerp, Belgium; not only is it Tom Boonen’s home town, it’s also the home town of the man who was in the team car behind him for so many of the ‘Tornado’s’ triumphs; Wilfried Peeters, sport director with the Deceuninck ‘Wolf Pack’ was a ‘Man of the Northern Classics’ in his own right.

Time for R&R, and some Thank You’s

Dan Patten's 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!

At Random

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 20: Faisanera Golf – Bola del Mundo 170.7 km

The rain stings past the entrance to the ski lift at 45 degrees and tries its damnedest to puncture the metal sheets on the roof; thunder roars in and echoes around the concrete walls, lightning sparks across the dark sky, the air temperature has dropped from a pleasant Spanish summer's afternoon to January on Porty Prom. Welcome to the Bola del Mundo; they say it's the toughest climb in European cycling - we believe it. We've been up to Covadonga a time or two and the Angliru, plus most of the Giro and Tour 'biggies', but this is evil.

Geraint Thomas – busy with “all the fast, punchy stuff”

When Taylor Phinney crossed the finish line at the end of the Giro prologue, a big sigh went up here at VeloVeritas – ‘there goes our Giro prologue winner exclusive!’ Sky's Geraint Thomas had been top of the leader board until Phinney used those amazing genes of his to great effect and the Weshman had to make do with second place.

The Douchebags Savage is on the loose!

The Savage, the new ‘one size fits all’ bike bag from Norwegian lifestyle travel brand Douchebags (Db) is now available to buy online at for €699.

Hello, and Welcome to my Peter Smith Blog!

It's a pleasure to be given the opportunity to write the Peter Smith Blog for the guys at VeloVeritas, and hopefully this might give a little insight as to what it's like for the lesser-known riders, trying to establish a career in such a cut-throat sport.

Le Tour de France 2015 – Stage 19; Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – La Toussuire

It's fabulous being on Le Tour but it does involve hugely long days and there's always too much to do. With that in mind, to claw back a little time to get the pictures up to date, do the washing and get some proper sleep we decided to work a stage start then head for the digs.

Ben Swift – Newly Crowned World Scratch Champion 2012

VeloVeritas has pleasure in bringing you an exclusive interview with new 2012 World Scratch Champion, Britain’s 24 year-old Sky professional, Ben Swift, who provided one of the major surprises of the championship to win the 15 kilometre bunch race ahead of the likes of up and coming road star, Elia Viviani, Dutch flyer Wim Stroetinga and Six Day foxes such as Andreas Müller.