In a change from the past couple of years the organiser of Assen decided that instead of a time trial the motor racing circuit should host a road stage. We had 11 laps of the wide rolling course and as we set off I was fairly nervous. The Klassiker the day before had really taken a lot out of me and the rest of my team had faired similarly or worse. We were expecting a hard race, full on pace, ripped apart by crosswinds.

But we needn’t have worried. It appeared that the race had also taken its toll on the rest of the field. The wide sweeping bends did little to help any attack. Technical for cars, the corners required zero braking from the peleton. It was easy to move up on the seamingly endless expanses of tarmac as ,for once, the group did not take up the whole road. All of the welwyn riders were going strong.

Before we knew it the race was almost over. 2 laps to go and we had cruised round with the rest of the bunch. We got ourselves together and discussed what we were going to do. All of us were feeling good and we had practised leadouts many times in England. It was on. With one lap to go we made our move. As the worst spriner in our team I found myself as leadout man yet again. Down the home straight the penultimate time I called on all the leg speed I had and spun my restricted gear up the bunch. A the head of the trio (Alex, George and I) I divebombed the first corner and forced my way in at the front. Having done my part I let the other two go and sat in at the back.

They jossled for position as the finish came into sight and with the tail wind blowing them home George was first to make his move. He went early spinning up quickly, so fast in fact that he broke off the front of the pack. First into the Chicane he piled towards the line with Alex closing down on him. It was so close but at the last minute Goerge paid for his early jump and his legs stopped. A dutch rider pipped him on the line. AS a team we came home with George in Second and Alex 3rd. Never has their ever been two Welwyn riders on the same podium.

Daniel had what was his first race he was happy with. His race was earlier in the day and it was raining. A crash mid bunch sent him scraping along the tarmac taking a sizable chunk out of his knee. By now the mtor circuit authorities were spraying salt water to dry out the track for the racing the day after. Daniel got in behind a team car and bravely fought his way back on. For those of you who do not race, getting back into a speeding bunch is one of the hardest efforts there is. First you must get in behind the car, then riding as close to the bumper of the car as you dare the rider has to actually go around 5mph faster than the bunch just to catch up. But the real killer is the last effort. Jumping from behind the car to the back of the bunch is horrifically hard. Daniel has the courage to do all this and still finish the race.

Daniel chasees back onto the bunch with some motorised assistance

Alex and George bring it home for the team