Photos Paul Hinninck (Belco-Van Eyck official photographer) as indicated, and photo below of Georges Schepens-LWU federation, with thanks to both )

A bit off a lovely story, about support our Irish girls receive!! Caoimhe is already in Belgium racing for a few weeks, and clocking up top 10 results in each race she compete in so far, and her wee sister Aoife joined her for a few races in Belgium, as not many races here in Ireland for women in August, and seeking Belgian races to soak up experience, and keeping her good form in check!! So last Saturday the 5th August they decided to race in a different federation, this to get Aoife a feel of the races in Flanders, a women’s race in the LWU (Landelijke Wieler Unie- a side federation of the main Belgian Federation) One of the silver medalist of the Gran Fondo RR Kim Knaeps (see photo below) who races for the Belco team and representing Belgium) has Caoimhe, and now Aoife as guests in her house, and with her racing in Scotland, she just lend her car to the sisters, so they can compete in races a distance away. And guess what…They got 1st and 2nd on the podium with Caoimhe getting the better of Aoife in Laarne near Antwerp

Caoimhe already well established and probably a marked rider…you can say, a marked rider in Belgium, but well respected in the peloton! Yesterday they raced in a town called Dudzele (near Bruges and a few km away from Zeebrugge where I was brought up) with the circuit flat as a pancake with a lot of windy country roads, and maybe not Aoife terrain, but the 87 strong bunch went to the line, and bingo…beating them all with a few bike lengths…1st Aoife O’Brien (Spellman-Dublin Port) 2nd Alana Castrique (Cofidis) and 3rd Yenthe van Lommel (Belco-Van Eyck) 87 starters, with an average of 40,48 km/hr!!! Caoimhe was 30th in the same time!!

Caoimhe is establishing a brilliant CV in Belgium, and certainly loved in her team in Belgium, a team that is maybe has amateur status, but very much pro in what they do…they look after her so well! Her sweetheart Matthew Devins was also over to visit her, and non-active for the moment due to Doctors orders…hope to see him back in the peloton soon.

Freddy Jansegers, the mechanic of the team and ex bike shop owner, does Derny races as pilot, and the man who introduces Caoimhe to the team! Freddy has properties in Ireland, and love Ireland in every sense, a stalwart in women’s racing in the Flanders, and knows everything you need to know about Belgian races, his advice to the girls gives them an edge for sure!!