On Monday April 22nd I raced “La Hallonienne” in Grand-Halleux in Belgium. The race consisting of 75 km with 1970m of elevation is a part of the Belgium Ardenne Mountainbike Series. I won the race in front of Sébastien Carabin and former Belgium Champion Joris Massaer in 3rd position. I managed to get away after the first half of the race and could take a nice win with almost 3 and a half minute advance. Really cool to see that within only 5 years the “Belgian MTB Series” has grown to become some really high class events. Amongst the participants were world class riders like former Belgium cyclo cross Champion Klaas Vantournhout and Belgium XCM Champion Wietse Bosmans. Beside these guys a lot of world tour road riders tested their shape in this race, like Maarten Wijnants and Jens Keukeleire. As this was the first edition I also got the leader jersey in the “Belgium Ardenne Series”.
On Saturday April 27th I raced the “SKS Bike Marathon by Mega Sports” in Sundern-Hagen in Germany. The very cold weather with a lot of rain made the 100 km with 2400 m of elevation really difficult to overcome. Temperature dropped in the morning to around five degrees and the sky turned all dark. After half of the race it started raining like crazy. I had a fast look at my bike computer which showed only 1 degree on top of the highest point of the track. This made my tactic very simple and clear as it was simply too cold to only sit and wait in a group. I launched my attack and just wanted to finish the race as fast as possible. After only a short time I could see myself alone in the front of the race with no one to follow. I kept the high pace until the finish line where I could only manage to raise one hand because I could not hold on the handlebar anymore due to the cold. I tried to make it look like I was enjoying but actually I just tried not to crash my bike before the finish line. I don’t remember the last time I was so cold, I was shaking like a little dog.
Next Sunday I will start at the UCI World Series “Roc d’Ardenne” in Houffalize, Belgium. This is the race I already won three times in a row in my career (2014, 2015, 2016). Last year I was third so this year I will be back for a revenge. As you know I have listed the UCI World series as a big target for this season. After the first two editions in Spain and France I jumped from 53rd overall till now ranked 14th in the world. – Let`s keep working on that!!
Here some links to press releases from both the Belgium and the German race:
See you around,