As this race goes the second and longest stage is the big one. It is the only point to point stage I have ever done as a Junior and this year they changed the course. Last year there were 1km of cobbles and this year there were 4.4km of them.

But to be honest the race had already taken place before we hit the cobbles. Starting out at the brisk pace the bunch felt nervy. I was somewhere near the back and as we went onto one of the loops I did not like my position. Up ahead, on what must have been about the fifth corner of the race a massive crash happened. There was no way i was going to be able to slow down in time so I swerved and flew across the grass verge around the corner. Alex and George both went down in the crash with Sean held up by it. Alex went to hospital for stitches and the others were fine. The newly thinned out bunch completed the loop and carried onwards.

As is normal with Dutch races the wind was to shape the race. Viscious crosswinds split the pack as pressure applied at the front caused splits as each rider tried to hang on. More than once I had to jump across an opening gap. But despite the best efforts of a few different rider I made it to the cobbles with the front group. The cobbles are treated like a hill. Juniors ride hills as fast as they can. The inevitable split in the pack happened two riders ahead of me. By the time it was spotted it was too late. Piling across the cobbles I took a bottle from Dad 57km down with 46 still to go. The group ahead of us sped away and our group of chasing riders did our level best to peg them back. The pave and crosswinds took their toll as Sam and many others tired and were dropped. I managed to prevent the cramping by going back to our supporting car and taking on water.

At the finish I sprinted in for 23rd. We were the last group not to get broomed, which shows just how hard the race was. The final few kilometres are some of the most special and amazing I have ever ridden. The whole of the centre of the town is closed off for the race so as you race in riders are free to go wherever they like on the road. It really makes riders feel professional when they can attack down the wrong side of a wide boulavard in a tour de france esque last ditch stage winning effort.

Again, the size of Daniels bunch did not do much to help him. A series of crashes led to him being a way behind in the first few kilometres. This happened to so many riders that very few of that age group finished. Daniel says that during the crash that saw him, and most of the field, dropped and broomed he ended up lying in a ditch that was so deep he could not see out of it when he stood up.

Making the final tunr towards the finish