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 Michael Nicolson Flanders form
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fuente
Speed Limits N/A

1074 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2012 :  09:22:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Rumour is he was 4th yesterday in Belgium and top 15 in another. Come on Michael let's have the details !!! Don't be shy

Ivan
Speed Merchant

731 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2012 :  10:37:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
4th in Stekene behind Pieter Cordeel

Leve de Wielersport
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fuente
Speed Limits N/A

1074 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2012 :  12:17:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
whats the detail Michael?
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Michael Nicolson
Setting Off

77 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2012 :  17:41:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alright, Ye I managed to get 4th the other day in Stekene.

Stekene is between Gent and Antwerpen about 70k from where we are staying. We drove up very early to make sure we had enough time to get lost a few times. When we arrived in Stekene we were greeted by several heavy showers of hail. Not to be put off wee signed on got the bikes ready. The belgians obviously aren't put off by a bit of hail as there was 153 starters. When we got underway, after a minutes silence for the belgian children that died in the recent bus crash, the pace was hectic. With several of the big hitters in attendance it was set for a tough afternoon. Guy Smet was riding and with over 300 wins to his name he is not an easy man to come up against. Early on I was feeling very sluggish as I have been putting in hard training rides in preparation for the Tour of the North and other stage races coming up.

After 30 minutes or so a break got away with a few good riders and I decided to try and get across. Off I went into the headwind down the finishing straight. After smashing myself to get up to them I realised it wasn't the winning break I hoped but a bunch of squabbling belgians and so we were all very quickly back in the bunch. After this the new plan was to stay in the bunch and use as little energy as possible. Around the 2 hour mark, with a break slightly up the road, I noticed Guy Smet moving up along with Bart Van Speybroek. Both of these riders are danger men so I followed them to the front. It turned out they weren't planning attacking but since I had made the effort to move up I decided to try something. So in the next crosswind section I went to the front and gave it some gas. Approaching the end of the straight I had managed to force a split and 15 or so had a gap. Unfortunately for me I was going far too fast for the next corner and fired into the bushes. After jumping back up and getting going I latched onto the back. Now I found myself sitting at the back of a bunch chasing the split I had just forced clear. Felt like a bit of a plonker. Luckily for me it all came back together.

Coming into the final 2 laps there was a break of 4 with a small gap. I decided to try and get across to them. In the croswinds I jumped with several other riders. We rode really hard and got up to the 4 just a the start of the final lap. Bad news was that Bart Van Speybroek had put his men to work and dragged the bunch back up to us. With 1 lap to go it wasn't looking good as big bunch sprints aren't my speciality. I decided to try my hand one more time. Coming into the crosswinds, just after Guy Smet was brought back, a Profel rider handslung him mate off the front. I followed with everyone on the wheel. When the Profel rider signalled he wanted a spell I went through with everything I had. When I turned around there was a decent gap to the bunch. Pushing on alone with only 3k to go I thought my luck was in. Coming into the last corner 3 strong guy bridged up to me. On the headwind home straight there was some fannying about but with the bunch charging close behind we didn't want to throw it away. I got beaten in the sprint but held to bunch off to finish 4th. Hopefully if I keep putting myself in these situations I can pull off a big win.

The best thing about racing in Belgium is how many races are on. I will be racing 4 more times before coming back for the Tour of the North.

All the racing wouldn't be possible if it wasnt for Callum. I can't thank him enough for helping me over here.

Michael Nicolson

Edited by - Michael Nicolson on 20 Mar 2012 18:24:30
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shortstop
Learner

43 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2012 :  17:51:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well done, keep plugging away look forward to reading your race win round up soon.
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frenkmcginty
Speed Limits N/A

1353 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2012 :  19:42:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
yer a great race reporter and a great racer....keep it up....yer big fan ....frenk
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fuente
Speed Limits N/A

1074 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2012 :  19:45:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In my opinion this is the sort of rider the braveheart fund was set up to assist .
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Rab W
Crusing Past

203 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2012 :  19:49:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Awesome Michael! I particularly like that you keep the bits in which some might omit! Haha. Seriously good work! Keep it up.

Rab
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Graham McG
Speed Limits N/A

1740 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2012 :  21:14:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
[i]Originally posted by Michael Nicolson[/i]
[br]

Now I found myself sitting at the back of a bunch chasing the split I had just forced clear.




Brilliant.

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andywoo
Crusing Past

337 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2012 :  22:14:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
dont know you but very impressed with your honesty and your talent
well done !!
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stevie blom
Crusing Past

330 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2012 :  22:17:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Epic stuff. awesome

Train hard and rest hard race hard.
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Lionking
Gaining Speed

191 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2012 :  22:40:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Excellent stuff Michael - we love hearing this stuff!!
A big win is surely on the horizon - keep attacking.
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rich_s
Setting Off

69 Posts

Posted - 21 Mar 2012 :  08:39:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Tremendous stuff Michael.
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jason8
Learner

20 Posts

Posted - 21 Mar 2012 :  11:19:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
[i]Originally posted by andywoo[/i]
[br]dont know you but very impressed with your honesty and your talent
well done !!



+1

Great stuff, thanks for taking the time to write this!
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jockanese
Speed Limits N/A

2015 Posts

Posted - 21 Mar 2012 :  12:16:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very good and good luck.
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kingdomracer
Gaining Speed

108 Posts

Posted - 21 Mar 2012 :  12:54:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Chapeau! Good report too.

kingdom racer
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Gordon Goldie
Speed Limits N/A

1097 Posts

Posted - 21 Mar 2012 :  13:18:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great to hear a "warts'n'all" report. Well done Michael.
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cthomas
Gaining Speed

120 Posts

Posted - 22 Mar 2012 :  14:52:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well done! Maybe see you on the bike on the Schelde. Look out for the barbie pink outfit- My
ASPTT Dijon UCI Womens team kit

Claire Thomas
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Ivan
Speed Merchant

731 Posts

Posted - 25 Mar 2012 :  13:48:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
From Owen P.

http://www.owenphilipson.com/blog/

Leve de Wielersport
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fuente
Speed Limits N/A

1074 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2012 :  09:26:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
lets have more race stories Michael ... need something to read while im eating my noodles.. and the rest of you guys staying for that matter..
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grantus
Speed Limits N/A

1530 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2012 :  09:36:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
can only echo the above - really enjoy reading these reports
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Michael Nicolson
Setting Off

77 Posts

Posted - 29 Mar 2012 :  19:17:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the kind comments. I'll put some stories from the races up every now and again.


Last weekend I raced twice. Saturday up in Koekelare and Sunday in Torhout. Both towns are towards the coast and a stones throw from Brugge.


The course on Saturday was tight twisty and windy with a section of cobbles thrown in for fun. There was a big field (135riders) with many riders from the quickstep feeder team as well as lotto boys and several riders from belgian continental teams. Right from the off the pace was mental through the town centre and out onto the long tailwind section. I started in a terrible position and moving up was hard given the narrow nature of the roads. On the first lap a decent break went clear. Loads of the big guns had got away and I knew it was all but game over already. By the time I worked myself near the front on the second lap another break went up the road and there was an easing in the bunch. Blocked in 20 or 30 back I was kicking myself for starting so far down. Over the next couple of hours the 2breaks joined up and put a massive gap to the bunch. Even with the race over I kept going for training. On the second last lap I decided to go for a blast and took a wee group away. Nobody was that bother about working since there was no chance of catching the leader. I did most of the work and wasnt really pushing it. I finished 2nd from this group but way down in 29th overall. Decent training but not what you come to Belgium for.


After the disappointment of Saturday I was determined to get in the mix on Sunday. Due to the glorious sunshine the field was again big with 126 on the start line. I made sure I didn't start too far back and kept an eye for big hitters making moves. That lasted all of 4k when I couldn't contain myself and I smashed off the front into a fierce headwind. Shortly afterwords I was joined by 4 or 5 others and we started getting away from the bunch. Over the first 3 laps the pace was fast. The course wasn't technically demanding but there was a section with a few bits of road furniture in the middle. Coming into these sections every lap the marshall would blow their whistles as if their lives depended on it. It started to grate by the 5th lap. On that 5th lap we were joined by another group to make the break 15 strong. Looking about I could see that I would have my work cut out to take the win as there were 2 from Eijssen (a very strong development team) 2 from Jong Vlaanderen (same again) 1 from Colba (Belgian continental team) and 4 from a local team. Over the course of the next 2 hours the gap to the bunch grew to over 3minutes. As it was very hot my breakaway companions were getting bottles handed up almost every lap. I tried to rob a few but the handerouters dont like that and just pull the bottle away. With 3laps to go 2 guys went for a prime and just kept going. Sensing everyone tiring I decided to go across. I was followed by one of the Eijssen riders and we got across swiftly. The four of us never worked well together with the Eijssen boy skipping every 2nd spell. I wasn't planning pulling him around so sat on also. We got caught by the rest of the break with 1 and a half laps to go. In belgium you notice a change in everyones attitude as soon as you enter the last lap. Everyone is thinking about the win. During the last lap I tried to get away but the teammates were working together to pull me back. After putting a few attacks in, attempting to soften them up, I thought maybe I had done too much and only softened myself up. Even with this I was feeling good coming into the sprint. The Finishing straight was long and a Jong Vlaanderen was leading out for his mate. I was in 5th wheel feeling comfortable. With 250metres to go I looked about at everyones faces gurning and thought "**** me I might win this". Coming into the last 100metres I went to jump by out the saddle but I got cramp in both my hamstrings. Practically unable to pedal I did my best but finished with 7th. The heat had taken it's toll. I was happy with 7th but could really have done with a win. Soon.


Michael Nicolson
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frenkmcginty
Speed Limits N/A

1353 Posts

Posted - 29 Mar 2012 :  19:41:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
it's best to try to convince yourself that you came to belgium for the brussel sprouts...how'n'ever...i know you are there for the racing and i've mortgaged myself to the hilt on gambling on your success there in an attempt to be very rich quickly....another great report michael and another great dose of races ....thanking you in anticipation of a fortune from mcboookies...yer biggest fan ....
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Graham McG
Speed Limits N/A

1740 Posts

Posted - 29 Mar 2012 :  21:51:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Going to need to get yourself a Flemish groupie to hand you up some bottles, Michael.
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Graeme
Speed Merchant

920 Posts

Posted - 29 Mar 2012 :  22:25:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Brilliant stuff Michael, sounds like that first victory is on its way. What sort of speeds are these run off at?
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fuente
Speed Limits N/A

1074 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2012 :  09:40:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
good stuff. Come on the rest of you guys Jack ,Scott get your fingers on the keypads.. lets have your stories ..
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