GVA #7 – Krawatencross, Lille
I never would have thought that I would talk to a fellow Hungarian on the podium of a cyclocross race in Belgium but that’s exactly what happened today. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I arrived in Belgium on Thursday morning as I spent Friday morning at Ridley Bikes for a behind-the-scenes report at their factory (more on that in my book and then I spent the afternoon in a hotel. As soon as I got to the hotel, it started to snow. First, it didn’t look serious but it soon turned out that the weather meant business and everything was covered with the white blanket within an hour.
A couple of hours and 15 centimetres of snow later it stopped and I was both relieved and excited. Relieved as I knew that I would be able to get to Lille on Saturday and excited because this was going to be the first snowy race of the season!
And it was a special day. Very cold (-15 degrees in the morning) but sparkly bright later on. Snow is always challenging to rice in and the white everywhere always gives it a a special flavour. Getting there was easy, except for a lady who misjudged the necessary speed to approach a roundabout and, being unable to slow down, flew straight on top of the little molehill in the middle of the roundabout. Miraculously, nobody was hurt.
The races were great, Wietse Bosmans beat Lars Van der Haar and it seemed for a couple of laps that Daphny Van Den Brand can make things hard for Marianne Vos. But she couldn’t and Vos finished first once again.
Then came the special race of the day, the Sterrencross or Star Cross. Local nobilities and old stars of the sport geared up to ride two laps of the course – the proceedings would go to a charity. For this race, the organisers invited Hungarian rider Gabor Schneider, who helped Paul Herygers to win the Worlds back in 1994. Check out the Sporza video here. Though his contribution was minuscule, it was a nice gesture from the organisers to invite him and it was very special for me to see a Hungarian rider at the start line of a GVA race, even if was only a fun race.
The men’s race was incredibly exciting and the bunch was so close together throughout the race that it remained an open question till the end. It all came down to a bunch sprint (we hadn’t seen that much this season) and Tom Meeusen pipped Zdenek Stybar who bagged his umpteenth second place this season.
It was great to see Meeusen’s first win of the season, after his great race last weekend (apart from the last lap, of course) his efforts finally paid off.
Tomorrow another race at Hoogstraaten, the penultimate Superprestige race, woohooo!
And while we’re at it, you can now pre-order my book about the season, the supercreative title is ‘Cyclocross 2011/2012‘ and you can find the very best photos of the season, 35 races on 220 pages, hardcover, the works. If you pre-order now, you not only get €5 off and free shipping worldwide but you also help me to keep this blog running and keep the photos coming next season! Thanks!