EXCITEMENT fills 2014 National League winner Amy Brice after battling through her first race for British team Velosport Pasta Montegrappa on cobbles in Belgium.
Brice was part of Team Velosport’s fivesome for last Wednesday’s Le Samyn Des Dames, the women’s edition of one of Belgium’s most famous Spring Classics.
The 112km race weaved around Quaregnon and Dour, and after the first, rolling 60km the team was still making its presence felt in the peloton, preparing for the cobbled sectors.
“They were not only focusing on their position, but at times stretching their legs in some of the small attacks off the front,” Brice told amybrice.blogspot.co.uk. “Crosswinds had a huge impact on the race and a touch of wheels caused a dramatic crash. The elasticity of the peloton reduced the number of riders but still the five girls of Team Velosport were very much part of the action.
“When the peloton entered the first of two laps that would complete the race four of our riders were distanced by the lead peloton; after being tested by crosswind and crashes we were now racing on the legendary cobbles.
“Becky [Nixon] finished acommendable 94th. The girls had an exciting race and rode with confidence, keeping out of trouble, riding strong and showing huge ability and awareness of each other in the bunch. The race was a brilliant season opener.”
Brice’s own race ended during the last lap when she was pulled with a group, her troubles having begun at a tight roundabout.
She explained: “I really enjoyed the race and I know that it was a superb way to build for the rest of the season. The positioning, crosswinds and cobbles meant that from start to finish the race was exhilarating. I concentrated on fighting for positioning and followed the wheels of some half-hearted attacks by the other teams off the front.
“When the peloton got squeezed at a roundabout and we entered the crosswinds and crashes occurred, I was caught out and I had to work hard to reconnect to the peloton.
“That was the start of me yo-yoing off the back. I found myself with a disappointed group of girls and being pulled out before completing the last lap.”
Brice’s next race is Gent-Wevelgem, back in Belgium at the end of the month. Follow Brice’s season with Team Velosport on her blog amybrice.blogspot.co.uk.
Le Samyn Des Dames was won in a bunch sprint by Boels Dolman’s Chantal Blaak. She beat Rabo Liv’s Anna van der Breggan and last year’s winner Emma Johansson, representing Orica-AIS.