Race report from supported rider Daniel Barnes
I travelled to Belgium on Wednesday so that we were there to race Koppenberg on Thursday and we stayed in the GB cycling house until Saturday morning where we travelled to Holland and raced at the European championships on Sunday.
The course was very dry but corners were quite slippery so I was on mud tyres. The Koppenberg climb is in the race every lap and is a cobbled climb reaching 22%! I got a great start and was into 11th by the top of the climb on the first lap. I was still sitting comfortably for a lap then my legs seemed to give up on the next time up the climb and then after that point I wasn’t riding very strongly. I had a 3 up sprint finish up the brutal climb and pushed so hard to finish 2nd in my group and 16th overall. I have never felt so exhausted at the end of a race, it really is very brutal. There was a lot of British support around the course which was great and really helped to push me on.
European Championships (Rosmalen):
We rode the course on Saturday and it was dry with 2 sand pits, a set of hurdles, 2 sets of steps and some ridable steep short banks. I chose which tyres and pressures I would use. On Sunday I rode the course again but the sand pits weren’t ridable on this day because of frost and no ruts anymore. I was ridded 4th row but worked through the grid and then got a good start into 22nd after riding over someone’s saddle on the first corner. I was in a group fighting for 27th, then another rider and I jumped across to the next group. Then on the hurdles I somehow managed to avoid a pile-up of riders (pictured) mid race and then jumped to another group. I ended up in a sprint finish in a group of 5 and came 3rd which resulted in me finishing in 25th position. During the whole race I had to concentrate as there was always something happening around me; for example positioning within the groups, making attacks or people crashing or slipping which I had to avoid. I’m super happy with my result and I was also the first Brit in the race. I really enjoyed this amazing time abroad with GB. Again there was a lot of support there which was brilliant and really helped me.
Photos from Paul Stewart and Simon Wyllie’s mum