The Cycling Development Foundation (CDF) Racing team packed their bags and headed off to Belgium for an intensive month of training and racing. It was a packed schedule, with riders doing several local kermesses a week, plus training and learning how to live independently overseas.
The pace in the local races was fast and furious, with our riders quickly coming to terms with the level of intensity, determination and perseverance required to hang on in these local races, which are a level above anything that they had raced previously.
Their hard work soon paid off, with both the women’s and men’s teams achieving some fantastic results. First to stand on the podium was Lucie Fityus with a win in the 1.15A Belsele-Waas Kermesse. Lucie followed this up with a second at the Beveren Kermesse (95 kms) and was pipped on the line in a photo finish, getting 4th at Schellebelle.
Mackenzie Coupland’s two-month stint, starting with the Australian junior team and then the CDF team camp, paid dividends. Mackenzie was showing some consistent results, with a top 10 finish at Zedlegem and working hard to finish with the bunch. After not finishing a race close to the end of the trip, she turned that around at the very next race with a win in the Dikkebus U19 Women’s Kermesse.
Not to be outdone, Nick Bolt dedicated increase in training in the past 12 months paid off with three wins in three races, defeating the current U19 Belgium champion at the Knesselare Kermesse.
Several team members were invited to race with other teams in Belgium, which is a huge honour and testament to their hard work. Brendon Green, Mitchell McGovern, Lucie Fityus and Emma Pratt were all invited to be guest riders on other teams. The highlight was perhaps Lucie and Emma racing at the UCI 2.1 Lotto Belgium Tour with ASD Women Cycling Project (@women_cycling_project). This highly prestigious race features many of the top teams, including Canyon/SRAM Racing, AG Insurance-NextG team, Le Col Wahoo and of course Lotto Soudal Ladies team. Lucie and Emma had the opportunity to race against some of the top riders in the professional peloton and did an outstanding job.
Of course, it’s not all about the results. With the team facing numerous challenges, being in a foreign country for the first time for many, learning how to live independently, and illness going through the team early (only one had covid *phew*), all team members were challenged, excited, worked hard and saw a taste of what life is like as a professional athlete. Each had their own goals, many of which were achieved, and contributed to the success of the team. Without each rider playing their part, we would not have had the success that we did.
The team are now having a well-earned off-season, preparing for the next round of National Road Series (NRS) Racing in October.
– Sam Bolton, Team Manager