Here’s Deano’s first hand account of the Nokere Koerse. We have loads of pics and need to go through them all… so please be patient. It was a blisteringly fast race and Bert Roesems won alone in a final glorious attack that was fitting for such a great day. Oh by the way, Deano’s pre race interview (see pic below) was in Flemish – no idea what he said, but the crowd seemed really impressed!
We’ll have a full report and pictures tomorrow… In the mean time, over to Dean…
Well it was great to see Mr. Andrews again at the start of my first big race of the season, The Nokere Koerse UCI 1.1 -193.4 km, it was the first race this season that was over 5 degrees too, at 8 degrees and sunny it looked like it was going to a nice day out, if you can call riding 195km with the big teams nice.
The opening big lap of 45km went very fast, as we were reaching speeds of 60 and 65kmph in the tail wind section. At 30km I found myself last man in a 200 man line, I was bursting for the toilet. But there was no way I was stopping at these speeds, a break came back and there was a bit of a slow time, so I slowed to do my business. Back in the race and onto the finish circuit (around 12km) which had a very fast cobbled climb up through the finish.
The race was hotting up too, somehow about halfway Rabobank seemed to miss a 15man split, so on the front for 2 laps to bring it back. I had just made my way to the front with the help of Tom Barras, cheers mate. Perfect timing, Rabo stuck it in the gutter in a uphill cross wind section just past the feed zone, and the bunch exploded. I managed to make the front group through the finish and on to the back of the finish lap, the pace slowed a little (only 50kmph now) as Rabo reeled the break in. I took a look back on a long flat section, the race was in 4 pieces.
The race progressed and just kept spliting from the back, with 3 laps to go 16 riders went clear and everyone was represented in it, what was left of the bunch rolled round, but some of the smaller teams were still up for racing and getting a top 20 placing, that included us too. I sat on the front to try to lead out for Russ and generally to get out of the way of the crazy kamakaze Japanese riders. I worked a bit, I just crossed the line in 70th place, 188 starters and not too many finishes.
This weekend brings the GP Rudy Dhaenens a Pro Kermesse of around 170 km.