Bpost Trofee #3 – Hasselt


[one_half]I was really looking forward to the Hasselt round of the Bpost Trofee. The course was situated in a park in Hasselt and while it lacked lung-bursting climbs and daring descents, it is a fun course with a few great course-side features, like the swimming pool or bmx park.

It was also a nice that the organisers mixed up the course a bit and it was slightly different, compared to last year’s. As was walking along the course, I saw someone pedalling the wrong way on the course, then turned around and started pedal hard to gain momentum. I didn’t really understand why, but a few minutes later it became obvious.

The ditch. The organisers decided to dig a foot deep and roughly three feet wide ditch about a mile into the course. I bumped into Sporza’s Renaat Schotte there and he explained that they [the organisers] wanted to spice things up a bit, hence the pit. Then earlier this week, Rob Peeters visited the course and he suggested/demanded it to be wider. The organisers duly obliged, which summoned the anger of a few other riders. All I can say that it was a great spectacle and it didn’t pose much problem to the majority of the riders.

After posting the obstacle on Instagram, it was given many names, ‘collarbone alley’, ‘reverse barrier’, ‘tiger pit’ and ‘hopit’ were the best ones. Someone also pointed out that at least this obstacle cannot be stolen. What did he mean? [/one_half][one_half_last]Well, the other interesting story Renaat shared with me was the story of the tree logs. One of the emblematic features of the course are two logs that act as an obstacle on the course. These tree logs were simply stolen on Tuesday and the organisers had to replace it. I guess the above mentioned ‘inverse barriers’ were more theft-proof.

While it was a great race, there were two things that caused me grief today. Murphy’s law states that whichever tool/lens/battery/etc. you leave in the car/out of reach, that exact tool/lens/battery/etc. will be vital during the day. For some reason, that is unknown to me I had left the 17-40 wide angle lens in the car and reaching the ‘tiger pit’ I realised that I needed that lens specifically do take the photo I had in mind. Except that it wasn’t in none of the pouches of my vest. It was in the car. To add insult to the injury, this was probably the only race where the press parking was a 10 minute walk away from the press centre, making it even trickier to retrieve it.

The other thing were the marshals. Most of the time there is mutual respect. They allow us to do our jobs and we stop when they ask us to stop and behave nicely. Most photographers have been doing this for a few decades so we all know where we can stand without interfering with the race. However, today we were ‘greeted’ by a legion of angry and unhelpful marshals, who moved us off-course consistently and sometimes aggressively. It made our lives unnecessarily more difficult and and less productive.

All in all, it was a great day and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow race at Asper-Gavere, one of my favourite courses! [/one_half_last]

Mathieu van der Poel, Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Mathieu van der Poel was uncontested for yet another race.

Ladies, eating.

Ladies, eating.

Kevin Pauwels heads out to recce the course. Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Kevin Pauwels heads out to recce the course after the end of the juniors’ race.

The 'ditch' at Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

This is the infamous ditch.

A rider jumps across the ditch at the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Wietse Bosmans bunny hops over the logs at Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Wietse Bosmans patiently worked his way up over to the front in the course of the race. With one lap to go, he arrived at the logs with the front. Yes, these are the logs that replaced earlier this week the original logs.

David van der Poel corners by the pool at the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

David van der Poel corners by the pool. Apologies for the pun.

Skater and cyclist

The course snaked past a skate park and I was trying to find a way to compose the skaters and bmx riders into a frame with the cross racers. After numerous attempts and with the help if this guy, I managed to have both the skateboarder and Tijmen Eising in the same frame but it didn’t look as impressive as it did in my mind.

Old couple watching the race from the comfort of chairs.

An old couple watching the race from the comfort of chairs.

Sven Nys jumps across the ditch in the first lap of the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

As we expected, most of the elite riders jumped across the ditch without the slightest hesitation.

Niels Albert leads the race in the third lap of the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Niels Albert seemed unstoppable in the first half of the race and it looked that it will be yet another Albert tour de force.

Ian Field rides in the fifth lap of the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

In the whirlwind of the race it’s hard to fully follow the race but I had the impression that Fieldy was doing quite well. I learnt later that he crashed out of the race.

Niels Albert rides in the sixth lap of the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Niels Albert

Socks of Niels Albert and Sven Nys during the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Check out these pimp socks of Niels Albert and Sven Nys.

Ian Field rides through the sand during sixth lap of the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Fieldy rips up the sand in the sixth lap.

Niels Albert chases Sven Nys in the seventh lap of the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Albert’s rule didn’t last long, Sven Nys caught up with him and then started to slowly pull away.

Dirk follows the race on the small screen

Dirk follows the race on a small, portable tv.

Sven Nys cheered on during the penultimate lap of the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Sven Nys gets cheered on by the crowd in the penultimate lap. You can see Albert in the background.

Bart Wellens after finishing the Bpost Trofee #3, Hasselt

Even though Bart Wellens finished only at sixth place, the journalists wanted a quote straightaway.

Matthieu Boulo gets warm after the race

Matthieu Boulo gets warm after the race

3 Comments

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  1. 1
    Jason

    Another awesome post and even more awesome pics. Reading this has inspired me to go shoot a cross race tomorrow. I am by no means a “pro” but I know what I like. Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring me.

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