Photos Pol Demeyere Pomer & Martine Verfaillie as indicated (with thanks)
I always warn our lads that Belgian Races are completely different than our races in Ireland…the distance can be longer, the fields are bigger and the speed much higher, trow in the many corners in short circuits (average 5-8 km each lap) where you need acceleration skills and they have a big job on hand. The reason that I try to send them for 4 weeks is to have time to adjust, as the first week is an eyeopener for many and normally results improve after such week. There are exceptions to this, mostly from riders who have been on international duty or been racing abroad before and already use to this. (Let’s start with the juniors) Kevin mc Cambridge (NRPT-Chill & Belgian Project Graduate) his form in Ireland and abroad, his natural talent and skills already notable this week with a 3rd and an 8th and a win on the cards very soon are a possibility as been twice in the winning break and very lively. Unfortunately, our other junior graduate Matthew Devins (Yeats Country) has been sick for a few days and wisely didn’t race, he will start this week his campaign. Nathan Keown (NDCC & BP bursary holder) is getting the hang of it too, a 29th and a 19th in his 2 first races are promising and I can see a top 10 before long. Cathir Doyle (Powerhouse Sport) is also in Belgium on his own accord, he didn’t make the BP selection this year due to a virus and his studies prevented him of making the criteria I had made. He had a super summer last year as a graduate, including a win and back to full health now with a 6th and a 9th in his 2 starts in Belgium this time around. They racing in the UCI 1.14.3 Cat and a very international affair with the cream of world juniors in their midst!
Next, we have our Under 23’s in the UCI 1.12 A-B Cat ( Elite Z/C and U23’s) and this is serious stuff, the kermesses are about 120km long and include some neo-pro’s from the continental and UCI pro teams! The first year as Under 23 rider is a learning year and a big step up from the juniors. If you have 100 riders in the field for example, probably 80 of them can win such race…in Ireland maybe 10 so it is a case of being in the right break at the right time for our riders. I have James Curry (Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo) and Donal Shearer (Phoenix CC- VZW Molenspurters) as graduates and Cian May (Lucan RC- VZW Molenspurters) as an invitation rider for the Belgian team. James and Cian have already reached top 20 in their first few races and top 10 very much on the cards in the next few races. Donal had a crash in the first race, had some placed results and still try to find his legs…the speed as a climber is against him for the moment but he should progress from now on to better results to become confident again. Adam Ward (Bioracer-DHL-FR services) is also in Belgium on his own accord, and so far top 20 reached.
Living the Dream!
Nathan Keown seen here with his adopted dad for the summer Hein Derynck …Nathan takes his bike everywhere with him…even in the swimming pool? This week 38 Celcius in Belgium expected!! (Photo from Hein)
And finally a big thank you in behalf of the parents of the riders and myself to our guest families Martine Verfaillie, Sabien Himpe & Rik Masil and Hein Derynck who each year open their homes to our Irish youth, look after them, wash their clothes and bring them to the races and this for many years now, this kind people treat them as their own…without them I could not operate …they are part of the successes we had over the years and so valuable to us…merci en bedankt