Due to the injury of Wouter Wippert and Marius Bernatonis (both crashed last week in VILVOORDE) we, once more, needed to change the final selection of tour de Liege. Mike (Terpstra), is leading the team with Frederik (Verkinderen) as second spearhead. Sibrecht (Pieters) is our 3rd climber. Tom (Govaerts), Alister (Ratcliff) and Micheal (Vingerling) are the team-workers for this stage race.
Day 1 is allways a very tricky race with 8 hard climbs. (All riders choose to ride the VISION TRIMAX CARBON TC 24 wheels with 26/11 SRAM RED, in their CANNONDALE SUPER SIX EVO). Early on in the race a group of about 30 guys got away with Tom and Michael representing Team3M. About 2 hours in the race Mike could make the jump thanks to the help of Alister, 30 km later Frederik came on board with a group of 14 guys. This group of over 45 guys was going to bring the winner of the day.
Finally 3 guys could escape in the last 15 km and took 27 sec on the chasing group with Frederik, Mike, Tom and Michael. Frederik got 3rd in the groupsprint for 4th place so he got 6th. Tom got 11th and Mike crashed in the last km (so got the same time as the others). Michael paid for the efforts he did for the 3 others and came in on 1min45 sec. Allister came with a big peloton after a hard day of work for Mike. Sibrecht felt sick all day and just made the time-cut. With Fred on 6th, 3 guys in the main-time and 5th Team, Team3M's performance for day 1 was pretty good.
All our objectives (excuse me for not telling them right here) are still within reach and Team3M was really performing as an well oiled machine. With 5 guys injured or sick for the moment and Jens needing to race Mountainbike, it is great to see Thomas VANHAECKE won on saturday, Timothy STEVENS won on Monday and the selection in Tour de Liege is doing great. Progress is in the makings...
Day 2: Waremme (Liege) - Waremme (Liege) (157 km)
Sibrecht will remember his birthday (July 15th) for a long time... It isn't Sibrechts' tour de Liege, after feeling real bad on the bike yesterday, Sibrecht crashed today in the last lap and is out of the race. The good news is, although brought to the hospital with the race-ambulance Sibrecht is OK and only needed some stitches in his knee. He will be racing soon again.
Good news came before the race, were the jury changed the Team-ranking which brought Team3M as ex-eaquo 2nd team. Other good news is that the team kept all positions after an un-eventful day. The guys races very disciplined. Soon it was clear that a bunch-sprint would come.
Alister was master-helper today, coming for bottles and 15 km later (25 from the finish) het was in a 8-men brake.... This escape got max. 35 sec. this was a great move as then Leader Mike and Frederik could sit in and let other teams work very hard. It came to a bunch sprint, so in general positions are still OK for Team3M.
Today was the flattest stage, from tomorrow on we come more and more in the best area for Mike, Frederik, Allister and Tom. Michael is ready for some hard labor for his elite climbers. Team3M is ready for day 3.
Day 3: Ans (Liege) - Ans (Liege) (140 km)
Wednesday was the first of 3 hard days of climbing in Tour de Liege. Knowing that Thursday will be harder with Finish at the famous LA REDOUTE and Friday the main stage, we needed to race smart today.
Soon an escape of 3 riders got away, it was obvious that this escape was driven by Gert-Jan DE VOS (ex-cycling center) with the climbing jersey as objective. A group of 8 riders with Mike Terpstra could bridge and later a group of 27 riders with Fred VERKINDEREN could join. This group got at some point over 4 minutes on the peloton.
It became clear that this group would decide day result and shuffle the GC. 8 km from the finish a little group got away with Mike but was braught back 5 km to go.
A sprint finish on the out-door track of Ans was in the makings. In this dangerous sprint-finish. Team3M’s Frederik got 7th. Mike took no risk in the sprint and rolled in with the same time as the winner.
Mike and Frederik are still in very good placing as the difference with the leader is still only 37 sec. With two climbing days ahead this is a very good place. The team is still 7th overall.
In the evening we went with the team-car to drive the last 20 km of tomorrow's stage. LA Redoute which will be painful... But Mike, Frederik and Tom are confident it will work, Alister and Michael are ready to help as long as possible. Team3M is ready for another warm day of racing.
Day 4: Ans (Liege) - Aywaille (Liege) (156 km)
Knowing that Mike is getting better and better over the injuries from the first day, the hard day of climbing had only one goal, bringing Mike and Frederik up in the rankings so that they are in a good place for the last day.
Under a burning sun and with barely any wind, the first hour was pretty crazy again. Tom, Michael and Alister were very alert and covered most of the activities. With 20 km to go to the famous climb ‘ LA REDOUTE’ a leading group had most of the best riders in it including Mike. Soon it became clear that today’s winner would come from this group. In the peloton Alister struggled at first but became better and better during the race.
Team3M rode very good, knowing that Mike was in the brake, they all were in good positions for more actions on LA REDOUTE. Mike got 8th, and Team3M got 6th team. With this result Mike becomes 8th overall on less than half a minute. Meaning all options (set before the stage-race) are still open and reachable. Thumbs up for the last day of tour de Liege.
Day 5: Seraing (Liege) - Seraing (Liege) (148.5 km)
Friday was 'money-time' day... as for Team3M a lot was still open. With Mike and Frederik, Team3M still had their two climbers in good place to go for the big result. In the first real brake we had Tom in there as planned. We wanted one of the supporting riders there, so that Mike and/or Fred could come up to that group later in the race.
When the 'real race' broke open Mike was in the leading group. Then the race became real hard, and maybe the crash of the first day was still hurting Mike too much. Frederik could go with a second group but only finished 17th.
Looking back at Tour de Liege, we need to say that we did not achieve our goals in GC but we are hopeful for the next stage races as we could see the fitness grow and the teamwork is getting better and better. We also know we are going to recuperate several of our injured guys: Wouter Wippert, Sibrecht Pieters and Timothy Vangheel. Thanks for your interest, see you soon.
P.S. After all Friday July 19th brought us some success as Thomas Vanhaecke at the same time won the race in Ingelmuster. (see picture – with credits to Lynn Huyghe)
We are currently testing Disqus. Feel free to post your comment.