|By Jacob Fetty
It is a good thing I don’t play high stakes gambling games or I would be broke. Aside from the fact that as a bike racer I have no money, I have been going all or nothing and getting nothing. At the Antwerpen-Tielen race the out come would be no different.
The race began with a crazy neutral start where life and limb were at stake just to stay upright. Racing began at one point and no one really knew if the neutral start was over or not. We simply began going really fast and guys were launching attacks from everywhere. My objective was to play it cool and move into good position for the cobbles that would come at the 35K mark. Five kilometres from the cobbles the insane fight for position began. Guys were using every inch of pavement and earth to advance. Sidewalks, gutters, grass. If it could be ridden, guys were riding it. I managed to stay upright and entered the 2K section of cobbles in the top 20. The cobbles, luckily, were pretty uneventful other than the fact that it was super hard. I came of the cobbles in good position and the attacks began. Austin, Brian, and I covered the attacks and eventually found ourselves in a large group. All the team had multiple riders in the move and I was in hopes that it would go. The problem was that the group was too big and no one would commit to keeping it away. As our group as being caught attacks went up the road and a breakaway soon gained a large amount of time on us. Austin and I found ourselves in a good-sized chase group and eventually caught the break. We very soon had an over a minute gap on the peloton and were fastly approaching the next set of cobbles. On this set of cobbles we lost about 5 guys to flat tires. Austin would be one of them. Our group was now down to 15.
We hovered at gaps of 40 seconds to as much as 90 seconds. Most teams were in the group and so I felt the move would stay away. As we entered the three local laps I was a bit nervous. Everyone seemed a bit to relaxed so I suspected some big attacks to come. It only took one attack. I got caught out on the second circuit by an explosive attack thru the feed zone. Half the break went with it. Only a few of us had anything left and tried to get back to the group but they simply were putting time on us. We had no chance of catching them. Now I was just hoping we could hold of the field. Hope all I want it did not happen. The field came up to us with about 10 or 12 kilometres to go. I was spent and just hung on to finish.
It was a hot, hard day. Never have I been so spent after a race. Austin tells me today that I looked like I was going to die on the drive back home. I went for it; I went hard and was suffering in a breakaway nearly all day. In the end I came up short, but I tried. That is all one can do, try. So I will try again tomorrow. Then again on Tuesday. Maybe soon I will find my way to the finish line with the leaders.
Thanks for reading
The Daily Peloton was present at that race and will give you a detailed report tonight or at the latest tomorrow. Stay tuned.
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Where was he and what has he done? - 7th August 2002
The race in France seen through Jacob Fetty's eyes - 8th August 2002
Update on some races in August - 14th August 2002