We have had some questions about what type of food we eat during a stage race, so I thought I would start my blog with our menu here at 3 Days of Flanders.
For breakfast we would have some bread with jam and cheese. That is not enough by itself on a long road stage so we also had an omelette and some oats. I think everybody knows that coffee is also a very important part of a cyclist’s breakfast, this we have every day.
On the bike we have High5 as our nutritional partner and so we get some tasty drinks, bars and gels from them to keep the energy levels high for each day of racing.
Straight after the race the soigneurs and bus driver provide us with some rice or pasta and we also have tuna and ham available to go with it. We also have a recovery shake to go with this meal. I find it is good to fill up the tank straight after the race, it just makes me feel more ready for the next days’ racing.
With that being said, let’s talk about the racing that happened this weekend.
A Prologue is always a long day because the start is normally in the late afternoon. On Friday we woke up, had a light breakfast because afterwards we went straight for a 1 hour easy ride. After our ride we had a bit of time to relax, eat lunch and then head to the start by car.
My warm up started 1h15min before my scheduled start time, we always do some Intervals during our warm up to make sure the engine is hot when we start. This year I didn’t need to do a recon of the course because it was the same as last year with just the two corners. Normally this is not the case, we always check the course of a TT or Prologue because every second counts.
I was starting third last out of the team which was nice because then you get all the information about what the wind and road surface is like on the course from your teammates. I felt okay during the prologue but I probably rode with too high of a cadence and didn’t have enough speed, that was my mistake. It wasn’t so bad though because I also had quite a sore throat for quite some time now so I couldn’t complain really.
For stage 1 we worked out a good plan in the meeting before the race and the plan was to race in full Support of Gerlad in the sprint. Unfortunately Gerald started to feel really sick and had to pull out.
The race was really fast and nervous but we were always in front and had control over the peloton. The moment Gerald pulled out we all got together as a team in the bunch, Ignas went back to the team car to check the situation with our DS, Jens. Jens gave us a new tactic to ride full gas for Andy. We had 4 riders at the front of the race and with 4km to go we took control of the race.
Ignas and Jay were incredible and the rode like motorbikes at the front. I was the last guy for Andy and i brought him to a good position with 500m to go but then he got boxed in on the last corner. The result doesn’t show the incredible leadout but we worked well together as a team which is good for the confidence.
With Gerald out of the race, the DS gave us all a free license to try something on the last stage. It was again really fast from the start and the bunch split a lot of times. After the Kemmelberg there were only 40 riders left and I thought we would be able to get to the finish together, this would have been good for us but unfortunately a bigger group came back. After 130km of racing we hit a cobbled section and the race split again, we had 3 guys in this front split. Ignas and I went with all the moves from this group and Ignas made it into a dangerous move that would only get caught with 1km to go.
Ignas was really strong so when he went in the break Jay and I just tried to save our energy in the first group. When it looked like they were going to come back, Jay tried to help set me up for the sprint. With 3km to go though, we were a bit too far back and then the group started to split at 1.5km to go so I couldn’t really do my sprint.
Overall we rode well but we just couldn’t get a result. It was my mistake because I was just too far back in the final. In moments like that I feel really bad for my teammates, especially for Jay. He supported me so well in the final kilometres.
Leaving this race, my fitness level is quiet good. I look forward to showing this in my results really soon. My next races are Drenthe on Saturday and Sunday and then the Nokere and Handzame Classics. These races are definitely goal races for me so I hope I can get a good result at one or two of them.
Thanks and until next time, keep safe everyone.