So the story goes, for our humble Oceanic athletes to “make it” we must depart the golden soils of Australia (We’re not sure what New Zealand offers in this equation (sorry)) and no better place than where cycling history is incredibly rich – Belgium, right? The Muur’s, the Belgian pavé, town kermesse’s and, well actually that’s about it.
Belgium isn’t all bad, it does have some consistencies that, if this was a travel blog we could madison sling off as ‘adding to the charm’ but really, the roads are giant concrete slabs with a line of tar reminding you of your tire pressure and that saddle sore every 50m, the opening hours of any shop seem to be 10am-12pm, then open again from 2:01pm – 2:05pm and maybe briefly again and some indeterminate point later in the day.
This isn’t a problem though if you plan your ride to finish exactly at that unspecified hour when the local bakery is still open so you can actually sit down and relax for a moment.
And the weather, everyone loves talking about it, so we’ll use Phil Gaimon’s words do it justice, “You don’t need a weather forecast…it’s going to rain (or worse)…On the first lap, we smelled fertilizer from the fields, but by the second lap, with spray from the wheels, we could taste it.”
We digress, Belgium for all its quirks wasn’t at the top of our travel list in 2018, despite some success there in 2017 with James Fouché (now Team Wiggins) winning a few races and further confirming his potential. We wanted to try something new this year.
We didn’t manage to drift far across the European continent before settling on The Netherlands, in the South Holland region. Six mobi-mates are settling in nicely, all of them coming into this block in excellent condition. For six weeks, Jesse Coyle, Carne Groube, Alexander Evans, Peter Livingstone, Angus Lyons and Craig Wiggins will take the start line at over 10 races as an “accelerator” type block to build race craft, hone their teamwork and vie for victory.
Racing kicks off today with the Wierronde van Albrandswaard in the village of Rhoon. Australian’s have a good record at these races with Cameron Meyer winning the 2017 edition.
Whilst it’s a massive privilege to get to spend six weeks training and racing with friends, and exploring new parts of the world. This is also an opportunity to focus solely on our cycling which is often a luxury not afforded to young riders balancing work and/or university. We’re excited to maximise this and test ourselves against new riders and teams.
Peter is the only rider to have raced in Europe previously but the team believes they’ll find their feet quickly. Coming off a 70km solo win at the West Head Road Race last weekend and having focused his training on 80km hard efforts, Jesse is excited to experience Dutch racing at it’s finest.
“This is what I have been training for and one of my big goals for the year,” explained Jesse. “It is really unknown to us what the standard of racing is like over here – how hard and competitive it will be. We won’t know what it will be like until we have done a couple of races but we have a great team, Craig has been winning a lot recently so he is strong for the sprints. We will just have to wait and see.”
Speaking about the team’s objectives’ team manager Tom Petty added: “It’s important to diversify the style of racing we do, we’ve suffered in criteriums and similar style races back home, so it’s an area we want to turn into a strength. Also, you have to acknowledge the greater role you play, the riders learn a lot from time overseas together. Sprinters Carne and Craig are two riders I’m especially excited about, but we also bring a lot of horsepower with Jesse and Peter. We’ve got two climbers rounding out the team, which again, is just about learning. Angus is a great all-rounder, but we’ve changed Alex’s nickname from AE Climber to AE Crosswinds in a bid to give him extra (mental) power.”
Follow the athletes more closely through their Instagram and Strava pages:
Jesse Coyle – @jessecoyle S: https://www.strava.com/athletes/1858739
Carne Groube – @carnegroube S: https://www.strava.com/athletes/12144467
Alex Evans – @aeclimber S: https://www.strava.com/athletes/4663085
Peter Livingstone – @petelivingstone_ S: https://www.strava.com/athletes/1608674
Angus Lyons – S: https://www.strava.com/athletes/4490396
Craig Wiggins – @craig_wiggins
2018 Dutch Racing Schedule
20 June – Ronde van Albranswaard
28 June – Ronde van Honselerdijk
4 July – Ronde van Maasdijk
5 July – Ronde van Hendrink Ido Ambacht
6 July – Ronde van Prinsenbeek
7 July – Ronde van Glessenburg
8 July – Ronde van Oudenbosh
9 July – Ronde van Heerie
15 July – Ronde van Monster
20 July – Ronde van Kwintshuel
21 July – Ronde van Barendrecht
25 July – Ronde van Alblasserdam
29 July – Ronde van Poeldijk