Tour of Holland
Day 3: 124km, 5 sprints
September 7, 1999
Still no rain, still fast, still moderate (wind though stronger today than
the past two), still crazy aggressive riding.
We started at 4:30 this afternoon and finished at 7:30. Van Morsel's team
kept the pace high and the group together for the entire 124 kms. Some fell
off the back. Most stuck on despite the pace due to the flat terrain. The
last 1000meters were crazy -- through construction, narrowing road, cobbled
and narrowing corner, downhill to the fast sprint. We did that three times
because of three 8km finishing loops. Again, nothing exciting happened.
VanMorsel took the sprint with Petra right there. I don't know how Petra
gets from being next to me to getting on the podium.
Day 2: 110km, 2 sprints
September 7, 1999
The distinctive aspects of this racing in Holland are that it is flat as a
pancake, the racing is super fast, the riders are aggressive and pushy, and
consequently, there are crashes. Usually, you can add to that, rain and
incredible winds, which, so far, we've been fortunate enough not to
Yesterday, again, was seemingly uneventful by the outcome: a field sprint won
by VanMorsel. Between the start gun and the sprint there were far more
attacks than the day before and the speed was much higher. We raced in
single file most of the day. I took part in some early attacks. Chad, our
mechanic (we are here with the National Team, by the way, since I forgot to
mention that), said he had a list of rider numbers that were being called out
over the official radio as breaks. As soon as he wrote them down and started
looking up names, the break was caught. That's what it felt like on the road
as well. I am even surprised the numbers were ever called out.
part in some activity, the pace slowed down a bit and I started eating a
banana, which I don't usually carry as race food. It turned out to be more
difficult than I expected particularly with all the corners, the continuing
high speed, and the breaking and yelling out. I drifted to the back of the
pack and had a hard time working my way back up. Bananas are probably not
good Holland race food.
The aggressors were the orange-jerseyed Dutch National team, and the Greenery
team. The Dutchies do this thing of double attacking. The second person
will either go with the first or drop off her, breaking to impede the chasing
pack. It works quite well.
Our plan was to attack in the final four 10 km loops. We did so with just as
much success as the earlier attacks had had. Oddly, for the finish, the pace
slowed down, the pack bunched up more than it should have over the cobbles,
and the inevitable crash occurred taking down Kerry Hellmuth (our rider whose
name I didn't know). She is ok, just bummed since she had been close to the
front. Most of the pack was caught behind it. Dede and I ended up on
opposite curbs avoiding the mess, then rolled in across the line.
After the race we showered, and got back in the car for the long drive. We
got back to base camp at 9pm waiting for the dinner of spinach, potatoes
(mashed or whole), and very tough meat.