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An American in Belgium Part III - Success
 
By Staff
Date: 4/15/2007
An American in Belgium Part III - Success
 

by Alicia Hopkins

The last time we spoke, you had suffered an injury during the Three days of De Panne. Have you recovered from your injury, and have you been able to race?
The GP Pino Cerami, Bel (1.1) was my first race back from the hamstring problems. Fresh and determined to ride better, I stayed as close to the front of the race as I could for the entire race. 40 kilometers into the race, I nearly made the first split of the 20 riders on a short climb. Euskaltel missed the breakaway, so they put most of their riders on the front, and chased for 20-30 kilometers to get the group back. More attacks continued for another 30 kilometers after the split was caught, until the field finally eased off near the feed zone. There were 3 finishing circuits, with a long false flat and two short climbs. One climb was a steep stair step on a paved road and a second that was much shorter, maybe 300 meters, that was cobbled. Going into the circuits, one of my teammates slipped into what turned out to be the winning breakaway. I came off the group on the first accent of the cobbled climb, clearly suffering from a break from racing. My teammate was dropped from the break with a lap to go, when a small group had bridged across to the break and attacked straight through it. I am still looking for my first finish of the season, but riding with much more power than before.


Wamsley goes for the victory at Bike Jam May 2006 Photo .Steve Medcroft

After the GP Pino Cerami, the Navigators team went on to race the Albert Achterhes Profronde van Drenthe. How did you feel during the race, and did you accomplish your goal of finishing a European Spring race?

The Albert Achterhes Profronde van Drenthe, Ned (1.1) is 210km, flat, 8 sections of forest cobbles, and cross winds. This race was my first single day race I've finished in Europe this season. It started off pretty easy. A 14 man breakaway rode clear of the field early, gaining almost five minutes on the bunch. About 100 kilometers into the race, the cobbled sections started. The sections were 2km in length on average. The stones were quite small and not terribly rough, but enough to string out the field, cause crashes, and some flat tires. I struggled terribly for the first two sections, but then I started to feel much better and got stronger as we tackled each section. By the end of the 8 sections, the race was nearly back together with the break's lead cut to only one minute. On the way to the finish, crosswinds and attacks quickly whittled down the group. The race finished with three accents of a garbage dump with a maximum grade of 23 percent. The hill turned out not to be the deciding factor, rather the attacks on the flats in the crosswinds, throwing other riders in the gutter, which split the main field into many pieces. My teammate, Van Ulden made a split that went up to the breakaway and was at one time riding solo for fifth place. He was caught and finished 29th. Imanaged to stay with the main field to finish my first race in Europe this spring.
 
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