Under the radar and not over the top…

It’s not often I open an article with the headline coming from a lyric created by 1990’s hardcore techno act Scooter, but these are different times.

Cycling is back however with racing over the weekend in Italy with Strade Bianche and today in Lombardy.

Being a fan of Belgian riders, especially those with a cyclo cross slant, you could be forgiven for not getting too far past the performance of Wout Van Aert at the weekend.

He proved once and for all that there is more to converts from the mud and dirt than Mathieu Van der Poel and Zednek Stybar.

His dominant performance in dispatching a group of known grand tour and classics stars was a win for all ages. It was all the better for us having had such a wait to see it.

But down the results list and in the breakaway today is the name of a rider who is going under the radar but is impressing.

The next cab of the rank was likely to be Tim Merlier who was starting his transition to the road and was present in the opening weekend of Flemish classics back in February. But for me Quinten Hermans could be the better bet.

He was up there without being super impressive on the rough stuff in the winter, but has settled in with Wanty/Circus since the restart. He is clearly able to get in a move and hang in until the latter stages of big races.

I will be keeping an eye on him as I think a breakthrough win could be coming soon.

World Cross Review

I’ve taken a bit of time to absorb the weekends Cyclo Cross worlds before posting a blog about it. Ok, I won’t lie its been a busy week…

However, the excitement of the race is still pretty fresh in my memory.

Forget the race for the win, that was pretty one sided from the first corner when Mathieu Van der Poel reached it ahead of the rest and led to the finish.

Behind him there was a real battle for the medals with our own Tom Pidcock fighting it out with Toon Aerts and Wout Van Aert.

It was a race fit for a world championship and run off in the sort of conditions spectators dream about in a ‘cross race.

Our blog at the start of the winter speculated that Van der Poel would need some competition to keep the sport interesting and whilst that didn’t happen here, there is much to admire about the Dutchman, even if it’s not his ability to win a tight race.

Pidcock really was the story here, holding off the others despite a gap than expanded and contracted over the closing laps. Aerts and Van Aert were really close and duked it out shoulder to shoulder for a while before Toon went on to get the bronze medal.

A word for the course which was made really difficult by the freezing rain. Whether that took some spectators and atmosphere away is not clear but it did look like a race on and around a runway, which it was.

Some of the other events were much faster on firmer grass and looked more spectacular rather than attritional as a result.

The right winner for sure, but much for Brits to cheer.

Nommay ‘cross a joy to watch

Eli Iserbyt and Toon Aerts gave us a master class of cyclo cross over the weekend in France.

The duo pedalled away from the rest of the field with Laurens Sweeck the best of the rest over a minute down.

I asked the question earlier this winter as to whether the dominance of Mathieu Van der Poel was good for the sport.

Dont get me wrong. I love the guy and his strength and power. But this duel was perfect racing and great entertainment.

First it looked like Iserbyt was going to win. Then Aerts came back. He then went ahead and the gap looked unassailable before Eli got back on terms.

Somehow he then found the spirit and strength to attack before Aerts found his way back to the front from a position where all looked lost.

It went down to a sprint with the young talent Iserbyt getting his wheel over the line first.

What a brilliant advert for ‘cross.

The road season starts up again with the Tour down Under this week and it will have to pack a punch to get to this level.

Could “Urban” cross become a thing ?

Sunday wouldn’t be Sunday at the moment without watching some cyclocross on GCN Racing.

Having thought the season had reached it visual zenith with the Koppenberg and Koksijde races recently, a race through the streets of Kortrijk didn’t appeal to me that much, but how wrong I was.

The course started on a bridge over the canal, not too impressive so far, before swooping down a toe path and heading high speed off a scaffold into a sand trap.

There was a return to the original side of the canal via a foot bridge and the whole thing was really appealing to viewers.

Until late on when Mathieu van der Poel took flight (or on that course set sail) for victory it had been closely contested and entertaining.

Could this be the future of cyclo cross?

Could it be key to take the race to the people as opposed to expecting people to go to the race?

Introducing our new race cut 2019 classics jersey.

Featuring the original Fendrien black coloured jersey with the contrast red.

Despite moving across the border into Lincolnshire we have retained the gold and green of the Huntingdonshire flag for this jersey.

The design has a plain front with bold wording to stand out on the back and coloured pockets.

Technical features include tighter fit, bottom of jersey tape to keep it in place and body for stitching.

We love it!