All photo’s courtesy of Velo Alanya (UCI European Tour event organiser and training camps Turkey) and Yucel Cakiroglu Photography

The Belgian Project is always pleased when former graduates going well and promote Irish cycling abroad. One of them is Marc Heaney from the Belgian Asfra-Flanders Racing Team who have been a bursary holder for the last 3 years and deservedly so. Marc has been involved in many pro races since becoming an Espoir, even won a stage in the UCI Tour of Albania in 2018 with his Belgian Team based in Oudenaarde. He is a full-time rider but has an amateur status, but his team get invited to such races and gives him bags of experience at the higher scale of cycling. Last years bronze medalist at the Under 23’s Irish Nationals started very early his season with 2 UCI European Tour races in Turkey this week. On Thursday he was on the start of the GP Velo Alanya also a UCI 1.2 race (The Ras in Ireland had the same status and allows national teams, continental pro teams, and invited top amateurs to compete) Marc was prominent and after the first hills he was in the 30 strong front group on the road, unfortunately, a front-wheel puncture saw him losing time, and after been serviced the chase was one, till a crash occurred and Marc hit the tarmac, not seriously injured but bike damaged, the race was gone and Marc did not finish. With another race the following day a wise decision!!

Thankfully only race clothing and bike damaged…standing up to fight another day our Irish Flandrien

Yesterday things went much better at the GP Gazipasa UCI 1.2 (160km +) which included many national teams from Europe and Asia. Marc and his teammates managed to be at the front in the finale and involved in the sprint for the win. His teammate Glen Van Nuffelen was awarded the most attacking rider of the day in 5th place (the day before he was 12th) with Marc at the same time in 9th and 1 second of Russian winner!! Now that is a promising sign for Marc too…after 2 years of health problems now hopefully sorted, we can already see when fully healthy he will have something to say this year. A life of solitude in the winter with pure training, working evenings in a pizzeria and the local gym, dedication and hard work to be ready for the next season, time karma start working!! Well done Marc and teammates.

Glen Van Nuffelen (Asfra-Flanders Racing Team) receiving the riders combat prize..well done Glen