Maasmechelen: UCI World Cup

AJ August comes from behind once again all the way to take 4th place on a very tight and technical course. Now in 5th place overall in the World Cup standings. Chapeau to an amazing performance.

Our second race and World Cup here in Europe for our junior riders. We had a week to recover, train and get more adjusted to everything culturally.

Watersley happens to be a 20 minute drive to Maasmechelen, so quite the contrasts from last week and what we are normally used to in the US.

Everything is tight about this course. Short pavement start loop and then the rest of the way mostly one line and sharp stones and corners, steep ups and downs, tedious to say the least. Dry and unseasonably warm, but still somewhat slick. A Grifo type of day, but not super low pressure due to the very high risk of punctures.

We of course expected wet and muddy courses so the tire choice is limited when traveling over seas. At the end of the day the rolling resistance did not end up being all that critical and AJ for example rode the race on mud tires. It was more about handling skills, where to pass, transitions and making smart decisions what to ride or run. First half lap is very critical with a very difficult obstacle less then a minute into the race.

The boys race gets strung out and single file, very few places to pace and no room for any mistakes.

David unfortunately hit a metal tab on a fence with his knee and really put a damper on his race but finished, spun it out and he will be ok to start Koppenberg tomorrow.

Ben was also in the top 20’s, but after a minor mistake slides back a few spots.

The girls race was bigger than Tabor and same dynamic as boys, needed to get a good start and just stay super focused on every inch of the course.

Finley got a somewhat slow start, but used her technical ability to advance into the top 20’s, then on the last lap, maybe less then 2 minutes before the finish she hit a spectator standing/crossing the course. Luckily not too hurt and was able to get going again and finish.

Every race is different in so many different ways. Organization, parking, course, rider safety, over all quality and level. Some are great, some are ok. We can only control the controllable.

Koppenberg CX tomorrow, one of the most iconic races in one of the most iconic cycling places. Finley races with Elite women tomorrow, so we might get some TV time.

Stay tuned.