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European Road Quality
11 juni 2010 17:17
all I want to make an apology for the massive amount of time between blog
entries. My excuses are that I’ve been
very busy racing with consecutively Tour de Picardie, Tour of Belgium and Tour
of Luxembourg. The days in between races I was either at a training camp,
travelling (see my last blog entry) or just passed out on the couch at home
trying to recover from recent adventures.
Next blog entry won’t be a month away, I promise… I really do!
Job Vissers gave me a great idea for this blog entry as we were bouncing over
the concrete slab-roads in Belgium: the road quality and specific points to
watch out for in the different European countries.
the Netherlands and have obviously raced on Dutch roads all my life and
generally speaking the roads in the Netherlands are of great quality, nice
smooth asphalt without any potholes or damages. The town centers sometimes have
cobblestone or paved roads but even these roads are still of good quality. The
problem with racing on Dutch roads is the ‘road furniture’, the roads are full
of speed bumps, traffic islands, roundabouts and traffic guiding lips. Great
for safety on the road in traffic but terrible for racing a bike on. It’s hard
to see all these hurdles coming when you are in the bunch and they definitely
cause crashes occasionally. The smooth roads are great to race on but it’s
important to always keep an eye out for any of that road furniture.
has ever raced in Belgium knows about the concrete slab-roads. I’m not sure
what percentage of the roads in Belgium are made of concrete slabs but most
races seem to go over them for at least half the race. The first thing you
notice is that the concrete slabs are very ‘bouncy’. Over the years the slabs
have moved or tilted and you feel every time you hit a new slab. Of course this
isn’t the most comfortable road but the biggest problem is that most roads are
2 slabs wide which means that there’s a gap or height difference in the middle
of the road between the 2 slabs. A car or even motorbike won’t have a problem
at all with these gaps or height differences but a narrow biketyre is different
and it occasionally causes crashes, especially in the youth categories where
there are less experienced riders. In pro-races every rider knows not to ride
close to the middle of the road or to jump over the middle when needed.
countries don’t need a lot of explaining but I’ll just give a quick overview of
the road quality.
usually got nice asphalt roads to race on with an occasional traffic island or
road damage. Not as smooth as the Dutch roads but quite comfortable, except for
the cobblestone sections of Paris-Roubaix obviously.
got nice asphalt roads with hardly any traffic islands or speed bumps. Some
roads have been damaged a fair bit over the years and they are generally not
similar to Spain, nice roads without much road furniture but there is some road
A few countries’
roads are equally good for racing. Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg
have great smooth and wide roads with hardly any speed bumps or traffic islands.
Just to put
this all in perspective, Job gave me the idea for this blog a few minutes before
he went down hard on a stretch of beautiful road in Belgium so better roads don’t
necessarily mean less or less severe crashes. All these roads have their own
specifics and although I obviously like to race on nice smooth roads in
Germany, racing in Belgium wouldn’t be the same without the concrete slabs.