Trofee van Vlaanderen and Profonde Westland
Trofee Van Vlanderen was raced on a 13.7km circuit around Reningelst in Belgium. The race was 9 laps of the circuit. It started hard and fast; straight away people wanted to be at the front due to the course’s nature, with tight corners and narrow roads. As a team, Backstedt were always on the front foot with our riders constantly trying to get in moves and keep the bunch moving. As the race went on, all the moves were being bought back and, unusually for a UCI junior race, it was looking like it was going to come down to a sprint from a large bunch. Coming into the final 500m there was a tight corner - Dylan and Zac managed to get into good positions coming into this, and coming into the last 200m Dylan launched his sprint along side Jed Smithson from Fensham Howes. Unfortunately space on the road was tight and Dylan had no way to get through, meaning he finished second place. Niall sprinted for 22nd, Zac 23rd, Huw 65th and Mattie 67th, all at same time. Overall a solid day out for Backstedt, giving us 3rd in the team category.
The following day Backstedt attended a Kermesse named 48th Profonde Westland in a suburb of The Hague. It was a short crit lasting about 1 hour 20min on a 1.7km town centre course. Once again this race started hard with attacks all the time. Very soon into the race a rider managed to get a gap and just behind Mattie and 1 other were attempting to bridge which they managed to do successfully. A few laps later Zac attempt the bridge with another couple of riders which was also successful. Meanwhile Niall’s front mech broke causing him to DNF, Huw’s handlebars came loose also causing him to DNF and Dylan was allowing the break with Mattie and Zac in it to get a gap. Coming into the final 10 laps a Dutch rider got away ahead of the break and Zac and Mattie were chasing hard in their small group to bring it back but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. Zac sprinted for 4th and Mattie sprinted for 6th. Another great day racing.
Thank you to the Rayner Foundation, as ever, for their hugely valuable support.