Today’s race was like a home race for me! Home race? Yes, indeed – my girlfriend, Femke, lives about 10km from the start and I know the course like the back of my hand. With a lot of motivation – and, frankly, better legs than yesterday – I stood at the start of the race.
I got in a breakaway with eight other riders during the first lap. During the second lap another 12 riders joined our group. It’s very hard to close the gap on a group of 20 riders who are working together. But the peloton – with many international teams – kept hunting us, so the gap never grew beyond a minute. I was happy with that, because everyone had to contribute in the leading group, which ensured that my opponents slowly became tired. During the race, more and more riders slipped out of the front group, so we had only 15 in the end. My four-step plan for the finale was pretty simple:
There were no more attacks, so step one was not working, so I chose to attack with 14km to go.
I immediately got a gap of a few seconds; behind me they hesitated too long with the response. So it was a matter of keeping a good pace on the flats and going “full gas” on the climbs. This worked well, and I slowly built my gap to 30 seconds. When I looked behind me during the last kilometer and didn’t see anybody, I was sure the victory was mine. After the last corner I took some time to enjoy the applause, and for the second time (within a week) I was able to show the BEAT jersey to the public. The best moment of the day, however, came after the race. A little boy and his mother came to me and asked if I wanted to put my signature on his little mountain bike. This was very inspiring, and of course I signed his bike with pleasure. I could look back on a good weekend after some nice photos and interviews with the press.
At home I also discovered a little surprise when I was analyzing my race data: a new record on my FTP (functional threshold power) value. This was, according to my trainer, quite special, because usually you have to be optimally recovered to do such an effort. But I pulled this 20-minute value out of my legs in the middle of the finale after a tough race weekend. Something that, of course, gives me a lot of confidence for my “peak period” scheduled in April!
You can find the results here.
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