Following a short training camp in Holland, Swift Racing has returned to Belgium with good form this week. The first outing was on Tuesday in the Memorial Marc van Beek in Brasschaat. This race is one of the biggest on the Belgian calendar with the 1000 Euro prize money up for offer to the winner also enhancing the reputation of the race.
The first 5 of the 15 laps was negative affair with many teams not wanting a break to go away, however on lap 6, Eileen Roe (A first year senior with the team) managed to help force a break of 6 riders. They worked very well together and quickly took an advantage of just over 1 minute.
However the strong work in the peleton of Martine Bras and Liesebet de Vocht (Both of Dutch professional team Vrienden van het Platteland) forced the group back to the bunch. Using this to their advantage, Swift Racing launched another attack, this time with Louise Moriarty, who was joined by Vera Koedooder (Lotto Belisol). As two of the strongest riders in the race, it never looked likely they would be caught.
In the finish, it was Koedooder who managed to use her power to take the victory. Louise finished 2nd, while in the Peleton, Helen Wyman finished 12th.
The team then went to Hoeleden on Thursday. This race is only 10km’s from the team house and is slightly hilly race, which provides a good change for escape groups to succeed. With 6 riders in the race, Swift Racing looked a very well organised team as they commanded the front of the peleton. It was Rachel Mercer who really started affairs for Swift in this race with a solo attack, managing to stay away for 2 of the 15 laps alone.
On her return to the bunch, Helen Wyman countered her move and escaped for a short while with Belgian National Champion Isla Geldhof and Tanja Hennes. But this break wasn’t to be. However a further 2 laps later and it was Rachel again that managed to escape in a group of 7. With several very strong Belgian riders in the break and Swift Racing policing the bunch, it was clear the winner was going to come from this group. It was Isla Geldhof that managed to hold on for the win, ahead of Rachel, who was very pleased with her 2nd place.
The final podium came on Sunday when Marina Duvnjak finished 3rd in Haasdonk. Having been away solo for 3 laps of the 18 lap race, Marina was joined by 2 other riders with 4 laps remaining. They worked to build a lead of 50 seconds from the group to ensure it was going to be sprint between them for the win. It was however the in-form Lensy Debboudt who won, with Marina finishing in 3rd. It was another good performance for the team who will travel to Germany for a pro stage race this week.
With the team in good form and spirits high, it can’t be long before they add to their long tally of win’s this season.
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse