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My Worlds part 1: Damn you, Belgian team!

Unfortunately I have plenty of time at hand now to write my Worlds story. Here it goes

 

Not only professional cyclists ride World Championships. There are also Worlds for different occupations. When you're a fireman, policeman, baker or paramedic, you can participate in the Worlds for your job. There is also a World Championship for the press and last year I rode that for the first time.

Sprint_2525202_252520wk_medium

via lh6.googleusercontent.com

I have no idea how things work in the other Worlds, but the press Worlds are organized exactly like the world championship for the pros: tribunes along the route, arches above the road, mileage signs,... After the race there's a real podium ceremony with national anthems, podium girls and champagne. The riders on the podium get a real UCI-medal. Same ones as the pros!

The championship took place in Lierde, barely 5km from my hometown. The circuit was about 12 km long and counted several smallish hills. The hardest part of the course was the Eikenmolen, the hill where Stijn Devolder won the Tour of Flanders twice. I knew that I was in a good shape. The week before I had put in a good performance a Gran Fondo in the Ardennes, so I figured I had a chance to do well.

Peloton_medium

via lh6.googleusercontent.com

In my category,  the youngest age group, about sixty riders showed up at the start. It soon became clear that it would be a tactical race. Whenever one of the stronger tried to escape, the whole peloton responded. Some weaker riders tried an attack alone, but they did not stand a chance against the big group. generally, it was a very slow race. Only the passage on the Eikenmolen was always done at full gas. But that wasn't enough to drop a lot of guys. A large group stayed together and I tried to stay at the front of the peloton the whole time, just in case it would get interesting after all.

Here I am riding in fifth position inthe peloton (White Rock Racing kit) and below you see me on the climb.

Wk_252520eyckenmolen_252520met_252520jan_25252c_252520pa_252520en_252520lange_252520jo_jpg_medium

via lh6.googleusercontent.com

Since I am about the slowest sprinter on earth (I'm a climber), I decided at the beginning of the last lap (3rd position) to try an attack. A strong Frenchman went first and disappeared out of sight immediately.I was boxed in and couldn't respond.

Shortly after an American colleague attacked. I knew he was a good time trialist, so I jumped on his wheel. But when he looked behind and saw that the whole group followed, he held the legs still. I drove to the other side of the road and decided to ride slowly away from the group. At that point we had about 10 km to go.

500m further a German jumped away from the pack. I waited for him and together we started chasing the Frenchman, who was still ahead. We worked well together. I saw on my Garmin that we rode about 45km / h on the flats. After a few kilometres a motorcyclist informed us that we had a lead of 25 seconds on the peloton.

But then we came up to a long straight false flat with a terrible headwind. I looked behind and... saw a train of four Belgians leading the pack. Apparently, another Belgian, who thought he had a chance, had convinced some friends/colleagues to work for him and they didn't really care about me.

We tried desperately to stay away, but just when we caught the strong Frenchman the peloton reeled us in. We were close to the foot of the climb, at 4 km from the finish, so I knew that I wouldn't become world champion.

 


On the climb my countryman attacked immediately. I was still recovering from the attack and struggled to follow.

Here's the climb. After 16 seconds you hear the cameraman (a friend) encouraging me.

Eikenmolen suffering (via drjones99)

I came over the top in 12th position. On the descent, the Belgian team kept the pace real high, so no one could move up. In the sprint I managed to move up three places and I finished ninth. My countryman (the one who ruined my chances) was second and surprisingly the Frenchman, who had done more than half a lap on his own, won. He definitely was the stongest one and deserved the win.

Here's the sprint.



All in all I was not unhappy with my top ten place, but I was disappointed with the passive way of racing. With many friends along the road, the camaraderie between colleagues and the Worlds-atmosphere, I immediately fell in love with the race. I decided on the spot that I was going to ride the Worlds in 2011 too.

 

Curious how that went? You'll find out tomorrow.

 

Here are my data (I missed half the race because I forgot to press the start button)

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