Every day is a school day
Report filed by the HEADMASTER of the trip Simon Beldon
The Race is The Guido Reybrouck Classic, the place is Belgium, specifically Damme, which you will all know from the TT races at the World Championships in Flanders 2021. It is a UCI Junior two-day stage race comprising a TT and a Road Race. Won in 2019 by Sam Watson, Rayner Foundation Rider of the Year in 2022.
Fensham Howes MAS Design went over to the Continent with a strong team, buoyed by a brilliant result last week at Nokere Koers. The trip was again supported by the Rayner Foundation as poart of the Gateway Scheme. They sent us this report..
"Big UCI win with Matty. A victory for the team for the second week in a row. As ever though it’s the collective learning that’s key.
Day 1- Time trial.
The learning begins:
Lesson 1- don’t let anyone compartmentalise you as a specific type of junior rider. ‘Matty is a sprinter or rouleur- one for the cobble days’…Not anymore. He totally believed in himself- had a plan and executed it to perfection taking 2nd place beating the worlds against the watch.
Lesson 2- Don’t let major mechanicals or issues that compromise your plan or get in the way of performance. Be resilient, have a contingency and keep focussed. Two riders had race ruining issues prior to their rides but Ben still managed 7th with a single remaining gear on his bike and Alex’ bike just about survived to the finish for a top 20 and within 10 secs of a top 10
Day 2- Road race
The learning continues big time:
Lesson 3- Consider your race plan in good time and always have scenarios for when/if things don’t quite go to plan. What will you do as a team? After 8km we came round the corner to see 4 of our riders on their backs in the first cobbled section, broken bikes, broken hands and the race disappearing up the road. It became a battle for survival - get back in the race - regroup and re evaluate what to do. Ben did an amazing job shouldering most of the work to get them back in.
Lesson 4- Never ever give up. It’s a bike race and anything can and will happen.
Oliver experiencing what it feels like to have multiple issues that meant getting back to the race through the convoy, by increasing his awareness of his surroundings he finally made it back to the main group. Next time will be even better
Better still. Matty was in the main break of the day. He needed 14 secs to in the race ahead of the leader. Matty attacked at exactly the right time with a group of 6 riders. The gap yo yo’d between 20 secs and 10 secs on long straight roads. One by one riders could see the bunch so sat up and waited. Not Matty- he carried on, was joined by 3 strong riders and we then had the best 4 teams represented. The gap stayed at 5-15 secs then suddenly the elastic snapped and it became 40. Matty wins overall.
Final lesson- Trust the riders- they are still learning and developing but jeez they can race bikes well! "