Astrid Gassner: BELGIUM UPDATE
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7 riders are representing Team Colavita Bianchi currently in the tough Belgian Spring Classics, 3 power women support the racers 24/7 on their mission and this all happens with tons of happiness, passion, determination, smiles and big hearts. This is my short summary of our current situation here in cold and rainy Belgium. I got to know the team one week ago, but it feels like I have been a family member for a long time. I hope this gives you some impressions of our team spirit.
We have done now 3 races: Omloop hat Nieuwsblad UCI 1.1 and Omloop van het Hageland UCI 1.1 last weekend and Le Samyn Des Dames UCI 1.2 yesterday. All three races were extremely hard and fast. On Saturday, when Nieuwsblad was, we had quite good weather for racing. On this day, luck was not on our side – we had some mechanical problems at very bad situations during the race. This race was to get into race mode again on the most brutal way you can imagine: cobbles, steep climbs and world-class riders. The same was on Sunday at Omloop van het Hageland, but there the weather was a bit worse than the day before and the peloton was extremely stressful. I was on this day in the car behind following the race of our girls with Mary and Ande. It was the first time for me following a Women’s race, and I swear you, this was better and more exciting than driving in a rollercoaster. We had unfortunately a lot to do: Gillian crashed badly and had to abandon her until that very strong race, Amber had another mechanical problem on the most important cobble section and Jessica had a flat tire before her last lap with the first group. All six girls have shown their strengths and fighting character on this day, but we had bad luck once again.
After some relaxing days in our “home”, we continued yesterday with Le Samyn, another Belgian Classic. Unfortunately, Gillian’s injuries from Sunday did not allow here to start on this day. And also Whitney, who was our birthday girl this day, was not able to participate due to some health problems. This race was extremely hard, as the weather was rainy and cold and the cobbles harsher and slippery. We all learnt from the races on the weekend and made some progress. We worked together like a team and communicated well during the race. But in the end, everyone of us had her own battle with the crosswinds and cobbles. Jess placed herself on spot 62., which is very impressive, and I followed on place 76. We all learnt again a lot, which is the most important in those races for us. The next races are the World Tour race Ronde van Drenthe and Drentse Acht UCI 1.2. next weekend.