Brabantse Pijl 2017
A little over a year later I was back for my 2nd time racing Brabantse Pijl in Belgium. I can’t say I had fond memories from this race last year, as I was dropped early into the circuits and rolled into the finish line in 130th place. This year however, I was on the front of the race with less than 10km’s to go, trying to help close the breakaway. So overall, I’d say it was a good improvement!
In the end, the late move that formed ended up staying away for the victory, and we didn’t have anybody in it. Initially Simon Clarke was there, but he later suffered a mechanical and found himself back in the peloton. Tom Skuijins was also there, but didn’t have the best legs on the day. So having two riders in the winning bunch of the day, the team was in a good position and Bettiol was sitting nicely back in the Peloton. Unfortunately sometimes you can do the right things and not get the result we were after, that’s just racing.
Personally, I was riding better than last year, and as we got later into the race, I was still feeling good. Once we got onto the circuits though, I found myself getting caught out a couple of times, and not committing to moving further up the bunch. Sometimes it gets really hard and fast, and before you know it the peloton is stretched out and you’re stuck where you are for the time being. When things do slow down (if they slow down) sometimes you’re still just glad things eased up, but this is often also the best time to move up. This year was much better, but still not good.
Once the racing starts, if you’re not up the front, it feels like you’re on the back foot until the finish. It sounds obvious to say, but it really highlights and reinforces how important good position can be for getting a good result. You can still be in the peloton for example, but sitting 80th in a line of 100 strung out riders, you’re already ‘out of the race’ if the hammer goes down. In any case, I was missing towards the front on the circuit, but on the last lap I was back up the front and on the front, pulling for what I could into a headwind for a 60kg climber.
This will be amplified in the upcoming Amstel Gold race. A 260km(!) Ardennes classic that will have lots of narrow roads, corners, and action at any moment. It’s going to be hectic and exciting. I daresay there won’t be too much expected of me, but the opportunity to race here is awesome. I’ll have my eyes open, that’s for sure. I’m an eager student awaiting for some learning!
As always, thanks for reading!