Doornstop me now! Verulam Reallymoving's Matt Watson having such a good time in the snow and ice of Belgium
PUBLISHED: 09:46 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:48 22 March 2018
There was praise for one of the younger members of the Verulam Reallymoving squad after a top-20 finish in a prestigious race in Belgium.
Matt Watson was racing in the GP de Doornstop, a national event for U17 cyclists held in Temse in the East Flanders region on Sunday.
He was one of five from the St Albans-based racing team competing despite bitterly cold winds and snow showers.
And his performance brought praise from the team’s directeur sportif Marcel Six.
He said: “Matt can take great confidence from that performance, taking on Belgium’s best U17s in such hard conditions and being in contention throughout.”
Watson himself was pleased with his own effort against the 65-strong field, adding: “Despite me starting near the front, several riders in front of me came together when the road first narrowed, causing a split in the field as they untangled themselves.
“The crosswinds were vicious, especially on the exposed climbs, but I stayed near the front of the main bunch, trying to encourage others to work with me to chase down the leaders.
“On the last lap, I gave it everything I had on the finishing straight and took second place in the final sprint. I’m very pleased with that and I can’t wait to get back to Belgium to race again soon.”
The adults faced similarly tough challenges in their races.
Clay Davies, Gary Nugent, Gavin Bench and Six were in Roborst on Saturday with Davies coming sixth.
Then in another cold race in Wortegem on Sunday, Six and Davies made numerous attempts to get away from the field of 75 riders on a 4km hilly circuit.
When Davies managed to break clear and get in a chasing group, it looked like a top-10 was possible but unfortunately due to the cold he had to drop back into the peloton.
On the last lap on the climb to the finish, Marcel won the sprint group securing 18th place.
Bench braved the cold to finish in the top 10 in his races on Saturday and Sunday, both times coming in eighth.
Six said: “With his current form, I am sure a win is on the horizon for Gavin.”