DAS-Handsling double victory in Belgium
DAS-Handsling rider Monica Greenwood takes two first places in one weekend of Belgian racing!
DAS-Handsling rider Monica Greenwood decided to make use of our proximity to Europe and get in some quality racing. While some riders may find it hard to find races here, Belgium can offer plenty of options. Monica says that you can race two to four times a week, with large fields made up of riders from all over the world. She also advises that with big bunches and technical circuits you’ll have to pay more attention to your positioning in the peloton.
Monica has come back to cycling after working as a coach for the GB cycling team. During 2020 the team took gold in the Madison and silver in the Team Pursuit. So you can assume that she knows how to train!
First race of the weekend was the Erpe-Mere Kermesse in Flanders. The race was held on a narrow course with cross winds and an uphill finish, that sounds suitably Belgian. A combination of a tough parcours and repeated attacks led to many DNFs.
Eventually a break was established. Some tactical blocking by one of the local squads to protect the break didn’t stop Monica from jumping across and joining them. After a short rest she began attacking, to keep the pace hard. She then broke away for two laps on her own, but was brought back. The break was then caught by the bunch, which meant it was time for Monica to win the bunch gallop. What a ride! Making the break, going alone and then winning the sprint, a real never-say-die attitude!
Sunday’s race was the Denderhoutem Kermesse, just a fifteen minute drive away: perfect for a weekend’s racing break. Monica described this as an aggressive race with lots of riders trying to get away on the wider roads. Waiting until after a sprint prime, she attacked up the climb taking two Belgians with her. The trio worked well together, building a lead of one and a half minutes over the bunch. Then in the final lap, she put in multiple attacks until with the fourth and last she sprinted to her second victory.
This wasn’t the first Belgian race of the year for the DAS-Handsling rider. The previous weekend saw Monica racing a kermesse in Ruiselede. She described the race as “horrifically wet, narrow and windy”. With such difficult conditions Monica rode aggressively, hoping for a split. A move went from the shattered bunch with ten kilometres to go. The bunch was closing, but with three kilometres left the bunch was losing heart. Monica bridged across, towing a team-mate of a rider in the break. Once they caught the break her passenger started to work for her sprinter. Coming in to the final and Monica, suffering from her hard chase to bridge the gap, took second.
Head over to the Cycling Vlaanderen website if you fancy emulating Monica’s adventure. The DAS-Handsling team ride Handsling Bikes, equipped with Rotor, Deda, Zefal and Oxford components. Race fuel is provided by OTE, they wear Bioracer kit, use Abus helmets and wear Velotoze. And after a mucky race clean up with Oxford Mint products