Station 23 – Trofeo Binda

The High-Speed Railway Line called CHANTAL departed earlier this year from Station Blaak, a station which is located in the heart of the city of Rotterdam. Ever since the 23rd of September 2017 the train is painted in the rainbow colours of Worldchampion Chantal! It’s great you bought yourself a ticket for this train trip.
Last Sunday the 18th of March the train stopped in Taino (Italy) for Station 23: the Trofeo Binda!

‘It had been raining as from the start, just like the previous races Station 21, Strade Bianche and Station 22, the Tour of Drenthe. There was no sunshine at all. In spring and autumn the combination of the rain and the cold is an extra factor to take into account during a race. When we left, it was about five degrees.

Lucinda Brand told me at the early beginning of the race: ‘during training sessions you’re always complaining about the cold, but during a race you’re always in front!’
And she was right. I can’t explain, because I don’t like training in the rain at all. To avoid the cold and the rain, I prefer to train on my Tacx or to return home immediately after intense interval training excercises. It’s also possible that I change my training programm, so that I can train outside when it’s dry. It’s simply following the weather forecasts. But inspite of the weather, I always complete my training programm.

I think that’s what Lucinda meant, because she always trains outside, rain or no rain. To give you an example: the other day she called me and she persuaded me to go training outside…it was minus six! That very morning I practiced really hard indoor on my Tacx…. I went to the max because I had no intention at all to go training outside. But. as I said, then “Luus” (Luus is the Dutch abbreviation of Lucinda, mh) called me. We asked Lars and my Blogger Marco to join us. Funny, or should I say crazy enough, they accepted our invitation. We met at our house. Mind you, Lucinda just finished a 90 minutes ride all by herself in this extreme cold! Respect for Luus, that’s all I can say…. according to her I was constantly complaining about the cold during that very training hahaha…

I repeat, Luus is right. During a race it’s like the cold is gone. It’s worse, I must admit that I even like the cold during a race. Under heavy weather condititions I can give the best of myself… it makes the race uneasy, hard and rough. That’s what I like. Some riders just block when it’s so cold. Confession time: my legs tend to block when it’s over 40 degrees hahaha.
Anyway, the weather of today in Nothern Italy was cold and mean….
Rain and cold take a lot of your energy, some might lose their concentration, so you just know that you need to be super focussed. The roads are slippery, meaning there’s a realistic chance of some serious gliding here and there. You should also watch girls who take off their raincoats in the middle of the peloton. You just know it might happen…one falls down….hits your front wheel and there you go… Thank God there were not too many collisions today. Many of the girls are experienced riders, they simply know to remain extra focussed.
Then there is the problem of nutrition and hydration. Although it’s pouring with rain, you need eat and you need to empty your bottles. At all times! But did you ever try to open up a bar with your gloves while riding your racebike? Or did you ever try to wipe the mud from your glasses when you feel the mud and sand irritating your eyeballs? To go short: stay alert from start to finish!

After the first 35 kilometers, we had the first climb of the race. Nothing much happened, no one attacked but we could all feel the pain and cold in our legs instantly. You just know: the race is gonna be tough today! During the descent we arrived at the finishline. We needed to round off four of these rounds… each round having two climbs: a mean one of about one kilometer and a longer climb of about three kilometers. Heavy rounds, heavy roads, heavy rain…. just how I like to race hahaha!

Some riders couldn’t keep the speed, others came back, there were a few attacks, it went like this round after round. I know the roads of Trofeo Binda with my eyes closed. This year was the 10th time I participated this race! But it never ever bored me. The team performance was again very strong. We were all very focussed and we motivated eachother throughout the race. It really helps against the cold, believe me! Tactically it was important to all remain in position. There were quite some attacks and during the last round the peloton just exploded. After the first climb, there were only 13 riders left among which three of our team Boels-Dolmans. On the very last climb Kasia (Katarzyna Niewiadoma, mh) attacked and afterwards this turned out to be the decisive attack.
For me, it was struggling, fighting, trying to get someone’s wheel and to ride as fast as possible. I finished the sprint in the best way I could – I was happy and satisfied with my second place.
It’s late in the evening when I’m writing these words. I am exhausted. I wonder how I will wake up tomorrow. I remember waking up with a bad hangover the day after the Strade (Station 21), but the weather conditions then might have been even worse than today…we’ll see!

The next stop of my train will be Gent-Wevelgen! It would be great if you would travel with me again…. will you?

Translation and edition of the text by Marco Hendriks

  • Anuj Sharedalal
    Posted at 19:32h, 22 March Reply

    Congratulations for the podium and all the best for Gent–Wevelgem!

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