Just part of the crowd
World Champion Erwin Vervecken
GVA Trofee Round 1 Opener cobbles & mud; this is the nearest GVA race to
the UK. The race is based around the village of Melden SW of Oudenaarde, the
start & finish line is on the main N8 road from Zwevegem to Oudenaarde,
the course involved riding top the top of the Koppenberg, ½ on cobbles
and ½ off-road, the hill is frighteningly steep and very narrow.
The Elite riders and U23, peeled off just before the steepest section, the
other races used a slightly different route using more tarmac, but still rode
up the steep muddy section to the summit, the course then twisted back down
the hill off-road, there were a couple of sets of huddles throw in for good
measure. Parking in the organised car parks, the entrance fee for spectators
was 9€, for 5 hours+ action was fairly reasonable. We arrived to see the
last lap of the Juniors Race.
The U23 was really tight, with 4 then 3 lads, together for the whole race,
The women’s race had the only British interest with Helen Wyman (FBUK),
we gave her a cheer every lap, she was in touch with the leaders on the first
lap in 3rd position, but slipped down the field to finish 6th at +2.23 behind
Winner Marianne Vos.
The Elite race was superb, we positioned ourselves at the bottom of the main
decent, the course has really cutting up and the heavy rain at the start of
the race caused a number of problems with bike set-up. The skills of the pros
is unbelievable, there were a number of near-misses with the advertising banners,
that were stretched between timber stakes
We saw several crashes however, and a number of broken bikes at least 2 rear
mechs that had been pulled out.
After have a few early problems Sven Nijs powered through from 6th or 7th place
to win by + 0:13 seconds from Richard Groenendaal for a Rabobank one-two, French
rider John Gadret wad 3rd, followed by a quartet of Fidea Cycling Team riders
Bart Aernouts, Bart Wellens, Erwin Vervecken and Klass Vantornout
Lead 3 in under 23