Race Results - May 4th - International Grand Prix Klimcriterium - Naviduct, Wervershoof 50km
Two days in the wind, rain and cold did nothing to subdue the dominance of either the professional Farm-Frites/ Hartol or the Dutch National squads in the Enkhuizen / Wervershoof race on May 4th & 5th. On both days, the pace from the start was high - typical of Northern European racing - splitting the field immediately and creating the decisive break on both days.
Day 1 (50km), based on a course which used an under-construction roadway was a 2.5km up-and-back loop, dipped in the middle and climbed considerably (6%) at both ends. The "bottom turn" was the most severe, with the pace slowing noticeably as the riders negotiated both the U turn and the blast of wind (and sand) straight into their faces. The course was all below sea-level and the soil being dug out for the construction work was sand - it would have reminiscent of riding in the dessert, had the weather not made it clear that this was the northern Netherlands!
Within the first kilometre, the tactic for the race was set - a ride of attrition for both hopefuls and stronger riders alike. A group of 23 riders (from a start list of 120) went away almost immediately, breaking the field into segments. The size of this group reduced throughout the race, until, with 5 laps to go there were just 7 riders in contention. At the bell, there were fewer still - just 3 to sprint it out - from Farm Frites - Miriam Melchers & Leontien Zijlard van Moorsel and Vera Koedooder of the Dutch national squad. Melchers led van Moorsel - who had been protected by her team throughout the race - into the final lap. As the riders came back into view at the bottom of the hill, 500m from the finish line, Melchers had dropped off the pace - her team leader coming through to do the job she had been protected for and taking the sprint.
Team Letchworth performed well in this, their first European outing of 2002. Ann Bowditch, Mary Boyd, Suzanne Hamilton and Debbie Booth all soon found their legs and worked well within small groups - taking shelter from the wind and swiftly learning who the strong European riders are. Ann Bowditch rode off the front of a large group (which included Mary Boyd) and onto the back of a smaller group, which stayed away until the end.
1 Zijalrd van Moorsel - Farm Frites/Hartol 50km in 1-21-00
2 Koedooder - Nationale Selectie @6secs
3 Melchers - Farm Frites/Hartol @9secs