Schaal Sels is the name oft he race, that starts in a small suburb of Antwerpen in Belgium. We heard about cobblestones and some gravel paths here and there. Ok, not that spectacular on the first view and also not that abnormal for Belgium. And we also gained already some experience by racing tought races like that in April when we did the Rutland Melton Cicle Classic in England. That time we thougt, that from now on nothing can really shock us anymore. BUT: we were wrong!
Crime Scene: Cornfield! But why we here the word « cornfield » so often ? Well, quite simple: just imagine that a category 1.1 race is just running a lot of times right through a cornfield – besides plenty of cobbled sectors. Okay, in winter not a big deal in Belgium, especially not with the Cyclocross bikes, but: very unusual with normal road bikes and a pack of 200 riders. Especially when it rained the day before !
And soon the race changed into a muckraking with a bit of school trip character. There was also a big break because also the commisaires underestimated obviously and their Citroen was stucked in the middle oft he cornfield. And with them the whole convoy was stucking until a tractor came to pull them out oft he mud.
And the bunch? Was just gone. Without the team cars. So the race got neutralized for about 30 minutes until the convoy closed the gap and chased down the break away of 200 riders.
Besides lots of tires and tubes, also the overview of the jury got lost and they just classified 19 rders eventhough there was still a group behind them finishing the race properly. A bit pity that Niko Holler could not get his 25th place officially. But still it was an amazing day for all involved people that they will surely never forget !
Fotos: Christopher Jobb