by catherine williamson
What could be easier, 98km riding around flat Belgium…umm tell a bunch of woman riding a World Cup that its under a 100k and they all go mad, attacking from word go and did I say flat… 7 GPM and a ton others and finishing up the 1.3km Mur de Huy that is equavilent to the Delves (steep and long if you don’t head over Rosedale way too often!)
From the gun the pace was high and did the only option I could, stay in the middle, away from the suicidal attacks at the front and out of the drop off the back zone. Trouble is the middle is probably the most dangerous place which I found out just missing a crash which left poor Emma Pooley face down and very still in the road. Fighting every human instinct to just stop and see if she was ok (which thankfully she was) I rode on and got myself a bit further up the bunch.
With the high pace the field was pretty strung out and without realising it the group thinned to about 60 going into the 2nd last climb. I found a sneaky way round a few bollards and started that climb on the front. Have to admit I didn’t go with any attacks fearing I’d blow well before the 2k was up and instead gradually faded back in the bunch. At the top I was just off the 1st group split and worked like hell to catch back on. That mean’t I entered the Muy de Huy with the front 30. I had no idea where I was in the group, just rode up my own pace avoiding the temptation to zig zag. The crowds were amazing and was no doubt the reason for a pathetic sprint at the end with an American which left me hanging on the barriers the other side of the finish.
I’d got 18th, another 3 UCI and World Cup points and, with a team mate 2 places in front our winnings will buy a good few hot chocolates! (Literally a few if bought in my base in Luxemburg!!)
We’ve 2 races in Belgium this weekend, a crit and a UCI one. I’ve also been asked to race with the GB team in the Tour de l Aude which will take up another load of Saturdays!!