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Dutch National Road Championship
01 juli 2010 12:06
One of the
strangest races of the year and one of the most important races of the year:
the national championships. It’s completely different than any other race
because only Dutch riders can take part and I think in the last 8 years I
haven’t done any other race with only Dutch riders.
riding for Skil-Shimano, I at least have teammates with me in this race and
actually a masseur and a team car in the race. Riding for Liberty Seguros and
Astana I was the only Dutch rider which meant I had to organize the hotel
myself, organize a massage, get my own racefood, fill my own bidons, put my
spare wheels in a neutral car, basically going back in time to the U17 category
when I had to do all that myself as well (or my dad did that, thanks dad J).
Of course it’s no problem at all to do that yourself now and then but it does
somehow give you the feeling it’s not important which of course isn’t correct:
I’d love to have that red, white and blue jersey for a year….
teammates in the nationals is obviously a good thing as we can help each other out
in the race but with the 9 riders we had on the startline it means we also have
a tactical responsibility in the race. Whenever a group would break away without
any riders from Skil-Shimano in there we would have to chase the group down and
that would mean sacrificing a few riders and we can’t have that happen. There
are riders of many different teams at the start but the tactical ‘war’ happens
basically between 3 teams, Rabobank (with 20 riders), Skil-Shimano (with 9
riders) and Vacansoleil (with 9 riders). It’s not difficult to see that both
Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil have a tough time battling with Rabobank if only
just because of the figures.
before the race we decided that five of our riders would try to get in the
early break and that always one of these five riders would be in any group
breaking away in the first 150km of the race. Of course there is always a
possibility of the early break making it to the finish but this year that didn’t
happen and we basically sacrificed 5 riders before the final even started which
left us with 4 riders (that included me). Both Rabobank and Vacansoleil by that
time had sacrificed about as many riders in the beginning but that meant that
the relative overhand of Rabobank only got bigger.
Come the last
two laps the race was still completely open and all of our 4 riders for the
final had already done a lot of attacking and reacting to attacks so by the
time an 8 man breakaway went we were happy we had just one rider in there: me.
Vacansoleil also had one rider (Ruygh), two ‘solo’ riders: Honig and Terpstra
and Rabobank had 4 riders. Even though Rabobank had the overhand in the race
and in this breakaway it would still be hard for them to do it right because
only winning is good enough for them. That’s why I focused my attention in this
breakaway on two Rabobank riders: Tankink and Leezer, two riders that can win
in a sprint with one or more other riders. When another Rabobank rider,
Weening, broke away with a clearly faster rider in the sprint, Terpstra, I
decided not to react because I thought Rabobank wouldn’t let that happen and
this would wear the Rabobank riders out, giving me a bigger chance to win. Unfortunately
I quickly saw that Weening was doing big turns with Terpstra but it was too
late to react, I would have killed myself chasing with other riders sitting on
my wheel. We nearly came to a standstill because no one wanted to ride and the
bunch came back just before the last hill. We decided to ride on the front of
the bunch for a chance for Veelers to win the bunch sprint when 2 other
Rabobank riders attacked from the bunch in a last try to close the gap to the
In the bunch
we were sprinting for 5th and I still managed to get 5th
of the bunch in this uphill sprint, 9th in the day result. Although
9th is not a terrible result I felt really disappointed afterwards.
Weening lost the sprint to Terpstra (which I expected) and I got only a 9th
while I was feeling great on the bike that day. Especially finishing in the
first 5 of the bunch after all that work in the last lap I showed that I had
some energy left that could also have given me a medal.
back at it I should have reacted when Weening and Terpstra attacked but it’s
hard to do it right when there are 4 riders from 1 team in the breakaway. I
guess I learned again today and hopefully I’ll get another chance to win that
national jersey another year.