Hope you are doing great out there and enjoying the nice weather at the moment!!
I am currently “on tour” in Poland and Czech Republic for a duration of 2 weeks because I am taking part in two UCI World Series events around here.
Yesterday I had my first race in Poland near the city Jelenia Gora. It could simply not have started any better here as I took the victory on a super warm and hard day.
79 km and 2300 metres of climbing were on the menu. A top strong international field with riders from all over the world. On the start line were German Team Bulls with 4 guys, and also the Marathon Champions from Germany, Poland, and Czech Republic. –So what do you do when you are starting alone without a team? –You try and work out a tactic on how to beat the BIG boys J
Actually the profile of the track helped me to determine the tactic. The first 15 km were almost flat so we hit all the climbing towards the last 65km. I stayed in the bunch for the first hour of the race and tried not to make any mistakes. That worked out perfectly and I was surprised about why none of the bigger teams tried to split up the race. As we entered the first long climbs on the ski hills just outside Jelenia Gora, I was in a really good position, and the battle could begin. Steep ramps and climbs in the forest made it a really tough race. In the same time we had temperatures rising to above 30 degrees. As the race continued, the front group started to get smaller and smaller. Like I predicted it was Bulls Team setting a high pace for their top contender Simon Stiebjahn. However they managed to set the pace that high and the whole pack exploded. So did Stiebjahn too. I was still feeling okay as we reached the halfway distance of the race. Suddenly, on a tricky and really rocky descend just before the technical zone, I hit my back wheel hard on a big rock. Unfortunately I could hear the latex “pissing” out of my back tyre. I stopped and tried to find the hole. I used a tyre plug to seal the gab and chose to ride on to the next tech zone in order to inflate the tire there. My good friend and assistant Jean-Claude helped me to fix this within a minute and I was ready to go again. At that moment I was 1 minute behind a front group of 2 Bulls riders and former Belgian champion Frans Claes.
I was fighting until the end of the race to close this gab. Naturally the riders in front were informed about the fact me hanging behind and chasing like a crazy to get back again. –They of cause didn’t want me to get back to the front. I first caught them with 15km to the finish line, where I really felt like I had spent all the energy that was left for the day. I joined the group and was actively participating in the work. I focussed on eating drinking and trying to convince myself that I still had a chance. -I knew I only had one chance left for winning the race. Finally we hit the last 500m long hill 5 km before the finish line. I decided for myself that it was all or nothing for me, as I knew that I would be in an inferior position when it comes to a finish sprint against these guys. “Flat out” from the bottom to the top of the hill. Only on the very top I could see that I got a little gab. Determined, I put on full gas during the last flat part until the finish line. It was a great feeling arriving towards the finish line after such a close race. Raising my hands as the winner of my first ever race in Poland and 4th World cup victory in my career. Team Bulls ended the day with taking the 2nd and 3rd spot on the podium.
I will now stay here for one more week and on Saturday 8th June I will be starting at the next UCI World Series event in Czech Republic.
Here a link to the HP/FB of the organization:
Here a link to the results:
Some articles from the race:
See you around!