For our team the world was very small this weekend, a racetrack, one pit box, the VIP room on top of the pit box for eating and massage and three campers behind it to sleep. How difficult can it be? Well 24 hours of high-speed racing!
– Our motor home and new team service car of Volvo.
– Thijs, Dirk, Arjan and Johannes close before the start
On Saturday at 12am we started our first 24-hour race with Dirk Bellemakers as opening rider. Last Year he was riding for Lotto-Belisol the Giro, this year he was with us. He did a fantastic first hour into the break away of 15 riders, quickly it was reduced to 6 riders including Dirk!
The second rider of the team was Arjan Fidder, he was a little nervous about the hard opening hour because it was his first race in 18 years after stopping his race career. Three of the break away riders were going full speed when we did our pit stop. With a good help of Team Fast Forward we could return into the break away group but going 50-55 km per hour through the dunes… peps one moment you pay the price. After 45 minutes Arjan could not follow the break away anymore when they increased speed further and this was the moment Thijs Bleeker had to take over.
– Thijs going full speed on his Baum.
Thijs did a fantastic job to consolidate our race position and did a full first stint. After three hours the average speed was 41,6km per hour! This was too quickly for Johannes Buntjer as well and knew that it will be a though race. Nevertheless we continued and in these situations it helps very much that the masseuse can recover the riders using the products of BES-T and the nutrition of UP.
After Johannes we had Dirk back on the track and after six hours we were fighting for fourth position together with four other teams. Johannes and Thijs had the time to reflect a little at the pit wall, knowing that the race is not over yet!
During the day we had several enthusiastic fans visiting our team including one of our biggest fans Bobbie Traksel. He was the winner of Kuurne Brussel Kuurne in 2010 and had some good tips for the team.
– Sorry I had to eat between the stints
Going into the evening we noticed that our race was not over yet because it was easier for Arjan and Johannes to consolidate our position in the race. “Do we have a change to get back into the top three?”
– the Babici race kit looks very chique when sunset starts
Also Leon van Bon, at that moment with team Fiets Magazine on third position, came to have a chat to see how it was going. Leon and Henk (with helmet) were both riding a Baum.
Dirk was still going full speed to see how we could climb further to a good position in the race. We were were back on track and running fourth with the dark hours in front of us.
– Dirk going fast on his FFWD wheels and FMB tyres.
Just when the sun was gone the race was going into a new chapter. Two teams jumped away to take another 4.3 km lap advantage. Team Fast Forward and Baum Babici 24h cycling team joined forces and started a counter attack. For many laps we were less then a minute behind the break away with Dirk going fast.
The two leading teams moved into the tail of the peloton first and received a little help of the peloton to take us back. We answered by waking-up Thijs and asked him to take over instead of Arjan and go for the max. For more than an hour we were racing three to four minutes in front of the peloton (one lap is six minutes) but were not able to defeat a peloton of 20 riders by taking a lap advantage as well. We made a though decision to wait…..
– Peloton close before the night, our Lezyne lighting did a good job
Back in the peloton Arjan and Johannes we going much better, it helps to be a workaholic when you are doing a 24 hours race! For them it was possible to consolidate fifth position into the morning.
The morning was the moment for Dirk to check together with our sister team, Team Fast Forward, how much energy was left in the peloton. Several riders dropped but the leading teams did not give us any space at all. Arjan took over from Dirk for his last stint and continued to stay in the front to control the race. Both team Specialized and Versteege did several attempts to get an advantage for fifth position but they were not able to break us. Next to that Arjan did his best to get away from the peloton with Leon van Bon or Gerald Keijzer of Team Fast Forward; it was a nervous phase of the race.
– Arjan finished a good last stint.
Johannes took over from Arjan and was doing his best stint of the race to stay in fifth position. Great to see that riders like Johannes can grow into an event and perform better as any expectation.
– Here Johannes is following Tino Hazelhoff from Team Fast Forward through the dunes
At the same time Dirk had a great “Rijstevlaai” to say thanks to the service team and to give Thijs an extra boost for the final hour.
Thijs had to make sure we stayed fifth. He did not like to wait for a sprint together with three other teams. With half an hour to go he joined a new break away of six riders.
At the finish line Thijs was the best sprinter of the break away riders and made sure we finished our first 24h race as fifth! We targeted to achieve a podium finish but fifth is also a good result if you look at the quality level of the other 30 teams in the highest class.
– Thijs sprinting for fifth with no other rider on the picture
This weekend Leon van Bon was racing for team FIETS Magazine on his Baum test bike wearing the new Babici Squadra Veloce team kit. With other good riders like pro rider Thijs Al he achieved a great third place, just behind Team 24 and Team Fast Forward. Congratulations to all!
– Leon, the champagne is doing his work
After the event we can look back on a great opening event, the equipment of our partners was fantastic, we did not have a single flat tire during our 960 km ride!
Partners, many thanks for your support and a special thanks to the service team and Racefietsblog for doing a 24h live coverage.
Our next race will be on June 21st-22nd at Zolder (Belgium)