Flanders World Cup

Monday 6th April 2009

by catherine williamson

After last weeks disasterous start to the season I made sure I completly over dressed for this one and had pockets full of knee warmers, arm warmers and gillet after the first 20km! To be fair it was only 5 degrees but with no rain and a very excited bunch there was no hanging around. Flanders is famous for its cobbles and steep cobbled climbs, the worse of which come at the beginning and the end of the 130km. With this in mind I sat near the front of the bunch fighting to hold the position. All went well till a girl came down in front of me. I stopped dead, bike went up behind me and somehow I managed to drag a jersey in front of me down and I ended up on my feet (think the girl might not have been too chuffed but didn’t hang around to find out!) After chasing with a few others we caught the peleton at the foot of the first climb… at the back. There were girls walking up and on the floor and it was a matter of zig zagging over these cobbles to avoid them. With that delay it was back to chasing over the top finally catching the group again at the start of a 3km cobbled section! Think I’d got so stressed out that half way over the cobbles I blew and was dropped again. The bike seemed to just jump over the stones instead of going forward so once off them I was back chasing the group again. After what seemed an age I caught back on, I’d done 40km of racing and felt shattered. Still everthing seemed to settle a bit and after a caffine gel I was determined to stay near the front and out of any more trouble. The race was a lot easier at the front especially up the narrow cobbled climbs and going into the finaly 2 big ones I had a decent position. I climbed well spured on by the thousands of supporters and came over the top near the front of the 2nd group. Have to be honest I didn’t even see Cooke and the other 17 go, maybe next year! Our group got bigger going into the last 10km so it was a big sprint at the end. Imagining the finish line was the Stokesly sign I came in pretty well in the group to get 24th overall. For me a good result, I’ve had one top 20 in a World Cup before but not one with 160 riders and every strong team there.

Theres one big lesson I learn’t today… don’t rub heat rub on without really cleaning it off your hands! They were on fire for about 5 hours after the race and I must have lost a gallon of sweat under my gloves!

2 Responses to “Flanders World Cup”

  1. Dan Says:

    Great post! I’m not sure it quite compares to the Phil Russell Memorial RR though 😉

    Looking forward to the next installment!

  2. shell Says:

    Um, now I know why I want to retire !!! Well done you, good race x

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