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Published April 10 2006

Photos eurocup Assen/Afsluitdijk (NL) 2006

Great Dutch weekend opens eurocup 2006 in style

The weekend started Friday 7 April in the provincial town Assen (North East Netherlands). The relay and criterium race took place in the city centre of Assen. Nice facilities (borrowed from the professional cycle race Ronde van Drenthe) and dry weather. Temperature was a bit cold for the time of the year (8C). But then again April just started.

At start line of the relay 12 teams (it's growing). In total 34 participants in the race. The speaker did a great job (a guy, also 'borrowed' from the Ronde van Drenthe). You could call the track 'technical'; lot of corners, a real city track between shops and houses.

The winning male team came from Czech (Jaroslav, Milan and Michal), followed by a new Dutch scooter team 'Airport Groningen'. (so we fly with discount to eurocups now? or....). Team Groningen borrowed Martijn Dashorst from a Frysian team, so an ideal combination which brought second place. Third became the 'Fast and Furious', with Lars Kessler (D) and Marc Ypma (NL). (only 2 guys ... bravo).

First womenteam was 'Dutch Ladies' with Peterina, Hermien and Ilse. Second became a new team on the stage: team Rotterdam with Wenda, Hannie and Carla.

Thrilling Criterium
The criterium race started at 19.00 hours. 35 participants. Keeping track of the ranking (860 meter track) even with 5 jury members was a real challenge. So we installed also a video camera that registrated everything. It prooved realy neccesary.

The race was great for participants and public. One of the most exhiting short races I have seen in eurocup. A leading group in which a number of riders tried to get a way during the race, but without succes. So a leading group of 5 stayed together untill the last round.
Michal Spinka had the most reserves and came after 30 minutes as the winning man over finishline! Second was Milan Gazarek and Lars Kessler and Jaroslav Tlapa sprinted in a super close finish over the white line. Only couple of cm differents. Lars 3rd, Jaroslav 4th. Also still in leading group the Dutchman Martijn Dashorst who finished as 5d.

Women: A new girl Wenda Zuiddam (who never kicked a race before) stayed relatively easy in the leading group. This was a wake up call for the settled female footbikers. Marie Tlapova (CZ) had unfortunately a flat tyre, and had to let go the leading group
. Marie could borrow a Kickbike from the side line and continued and finished in 4th place before Peterina vd Molen (NL) 5d. Hermien Koers (NL) won, second was Ilse Ypma-Bijl (NL) and 3d (close behind Ilse) Wenda Zuiddam (NL).

'Proost' to the new eurocup season

After the race there was a diner in a restaurant close to finish line in de 'Poort van Assen'.
Then same evening we had a car trip to Friesland for the overnightstaying in Harlingen. After arrival a warming up in the Zeehoeve bar and around 00.00 hours the competitors (and organisingteam) climbed to the top of a (Delta hight) sea dyke in the dark (in the wind) and drank 2 bottles of Dutch jenever and 1 bottle of 'Oranjebitter'. A Dutch tradition to salute the start of the new eurocup season and the wind devils on Afsluitdijk!

Day 2 - Quest straight through the Dutch seas
We didn't know what to expect. Ofcourse the time trial over Afsluitdijk is already kicked for 24 years so
many conditions are known. For some of the none Dutch riders this race can be some what of a horror experience. 38 km time trial on a straight road through the sea. Phsyical and mental a quest.

This time a tail wind (as Gary from the US mailed me). I think 5 m/s which decreased at the end of the race. During start procedure the sun also arrived. So a great event. 43 Competitors in total. The participants started with a 30 second interval.
We had no idea who whould came out as winner. During this race it's allways a suprise and gambling can cost you dearly is my experience. The tail wind brought an extra uncertain factor: because who good in sailing...?

After start I drove back in the car over the dyke to camping de Zeehoeve. Along the route bright blue sky and sea with some white wave heads. Next to that a green line with dots of footbikers kicking like hell with speeds up to 31,6 km/h average . A long ribon of competitors sailing with the wind to finish. We had to hurry to catch up with the first.
The flags at finish line were 'strak' as we say it here in the Lowlands and the riders finished all in fast times. None excluded.

In de Zeehoeve during the price ceremony the results came. It was clear: Not all Czech have sea leggs (yet) and again Lars Kessler (D) and Martijn Dashorst (NL) were in top 3 (like last year on Afsluitdijk). Though both not ranked first this time. William van Geloof (NL) has been training and won the race with an average of 31,6 km. The winning time: 1:12:03. Martijn Dashorst (NL) became 2d in 1:13:37 and Lars Kessler (D) 3d in 1:13:44.

In women's category Hermien Koers (NL) opened the season in good shape and won in 1:26:57. Peterina vd Molen (NL) became second in 1:29:49. Peterina seems to make a comeback this year. Third was Marie Tlapova from Czech in 1:30:20.

Supprisingly, 80 energybars and 70 energydrinks toghether with several liters of water were used by the competitors on the route and finish. ..... the result of sun and sea...?

In the Zeehoeve competitors washed the salt away under the showers and later when everybody had reached finish line there was a ceremony inside the 'Hoeve'. Winners in all the catogories (cadettes, juniors, seniors, veterans and 3CV riders) got a shining cup and all participants received next to a drinkbottle also the Afsluitdijk certificaat 2006 for making it to the other side:

The eurocup season 2006 is declared open... come and kick.

Relay race Assen
| The Netherlands 2006

Criterium race Assen | The Netherlands 2006
Afsluitdijk 38 km time trial | The Netherlands 2006

Photos eurocup Assen/Afsluitdijk (NL) 2006