It took a while but on the weekend of 18th of April, the season of Watersley R&D Cycling Team finally started! Many organizations had to cancel or postpone their events due to the Corona situation all over the world. With recent lockdowns in many countries, we saw more and more races disappear from our schedule. And when the lockdown in France got reinforced, we thought we had to wait a little longer on the first race of the season…

But in the week before, we received the encouraging email that the Grand Prix Féminin De Chambéry UCI 1.2 could proceed and the final preparations could be done.

In current times there are a few extra steps to take going to a race. Besides the extra paperwork and preparations to travel, all the riders and staff need to be tested for Corona. Luckily for us, the PCR-testing for the Coronavirus is done at Watersley Sports & Talentpark! After receiving the negative test results our trip could begin.

Arriving on Saturday, a day before the race means settling down in the hotel room, prepare the bikes, and go for a little spin. In the meantime, the staff is preparing the spare bikes, going to the sports directors meeting, and finding the way around. With the hotel closer to the course, our riders went for a spin on the circuit of the race, as a reconnaissance for what tomorrow will bring.

The first race of the season for most girls and it promised to be a tough race, true hilly terrain. 6 laps on a circuit of 16.7 km with 3 climbs included 100 km total race distance, with 1752 altimeters in total.

From the start on the pace of the group was strong and the climbs followed in rapid succession. The first group shrank bit by bit over time but Quinty Schoens managed to stay in the first group! A well-fought 15th place in the end for Quinty, who rode just her 4th cycling competition ever! Towards the end of the race, it was one too many climbs for Ilse Grit, who struggled with the high pace on the climb but could correct in the downhills. Falling back in the group behind, followed by a group containing Rose Kloese and Senna Feron. For Adele Desgagnes the race ended a day early with a bad crash during the recon. Luckily without too much damage and the recovery is going fine now.

All in all smiling faces that we were able to race again, some with a satisfied feeling about the race, some with goals to improve for the upcoming events. The next event on our schedule will be Grote Prijs Eco-struct – Quality Select Cars UCI 1.2 in Wichelen Belgium on the 8th of May. The race will be over a 123.2 km course, divided into 11 laps of 11.2 km, last year won by Lorena Wiebes.