The InForm TM Insight MAKE boys came together in Belgium early last week for their much anticipated month of training and racing in Belgium’s heart of cycling, Oudenaarde.
In what was a promising weekend of racing for the boys, it was Luke Plapp and Jarrad Drizners who started it off with a bang; crossing the line together in first and second at the 70km criterium race in Ostend.
“Everyone arrived in Oudenaarde on either Monday or Tuesday, so the first few days were used to adjust to the change of time zone and climate,” Carter Turnbull says.
“With Godfrey Slattery, Luke Plapp and Jarrad Drizners having arrived in Europe a little earlier, the three of them, joined by Conor Leahy and Nathan Elliott, began the racing campaign really successfully.”
Below, the boys share with us - in their own words - how week one panned out.
Thursday 27th June: 70km race in Ostend
The boys kicked off their Belgium campaign with a bang, with Luke Plapp and Jarrad Drizners doing the 1-2 on the 70km criterium course in Ostend; a course characterised by 40 laps of a 1.75km circuit.
With a big weekend of racing ahead of the whole team, they were off to a flying start, with Plapp set for another podium come Sunday.
“The crit was pretty eye opening – very different to what we experience in Melbourne. It was a really good experience. We had all the boys there – Nathan, Jarrad, Conor and Godfrey – who guided me through the race and helped me out. And Jarrad and I were able to run away with it in the end.”
“It was a pretty hectic crit. We were in a few good moves that got brought back, with Plapp and I in a break together with about three laps to go. He was having a good night and with about a lap to go he just lit it up, and rode away and I went with him and we were able to get the first and second.”
Saturday 29th June: 117km Bever
Saturday was set to be the hottest day we would experience as well as the first race for a few of the riders, so it was always going to be a difficult day. With a large break of roughly 10 riders going clear in the race including Elliott and Drizners, the race was over within the first half hour for the main field. After a hard race with extreme temperatures, Elliott tried his best to set up Drizners in the final lap, however the hope for victory was over with one rider staying away in front of the break to take a solo win and then another two escaping late, meaning the sprint behind was for fourth place. Jarrad opened up early but wasn’t quite able to hold on and ended up in 6th place overall.
Sunday 30th June: 114km race in Hansbeke
At lap two out of 19 Plapp, Drizners and Elliott broke away with five other guys and worked together well to eventually get a 25-second gap back to the peloton. They continued to extend their lead to 45-seconds with three laps to go and the win was going to come from the break.
Luke Plapp hit it a 1.5-kilometres to go, but got caught just before the line and managed to sprint to second.