Friday 10 February 2012

Heerlen GP Heuts Elite Women details

Saturday, 11th of February 2012
09.00 - Final course construction
12.00 - Free practice
15.00 - End of practice
15.30 - Track inspection
Sunday, 12th of February 2012
09.00 - Free practice      
10.00 - Under-23
11.00 - Masters
12.00 - Elite Training  
13.45 - Elite Women
14.45 - Honouring World Champions  
15.00 - Elite Men
16.00 - Finish

The race begins with a 205m sprint along the Stadionbaan (50°52'45.20"N 6° 0'8.57"E), a wide and hard-surfaced area which will encourage high speeds as riders jostle to take first place leading into the first lap. It then passes between two "hillocks" (according to the course guide - they look rather like building spoils) for 50m, a section that can become muddy but which may be frozen solid - transforming a sticky patch into one that could shake teeth loose. Next up comes 65m on grass leading to a 90 degree right onto a long hard-surface section of 518m - it's narrow enough to make overtaking difficult and any rider who gained the upper hand in the initial section will have the opportunity to turn it into a potentially race-winning lead here, possibly in the early stages of the race, but the pack will be in hot pursuit.

Helen Wyman - Britain's
greatest hope
Having turned right, 378m on rougher grass takes the riders over some rough ground and more grass, then over ditches and up to a narrow road - further opportunity for the rider who was fastest through the preceding technical section to extend their lead. 117m of tarmac leads back onto grass and a right turn once onto the grass, which will be slippery as early frost/snow begins to melt and then become worse once a few laps have churned things up a bit. 380m leads to the pits, then loops around to double back past some trees before turning through a left-handed loop, over a track and back onto the first field. It heads through a hedge before a wide right-handed loop on grass and back to the hedge, emerging briefly on the other side entering the woods. A track leads to a  ladder with 24 slippery, narrow, splintered wooden steps (if they can, many riders will probably take their chances running or even riding up the slope to the right of the steps - they look treacherous and, as if traction wasn't already an issue, the space between them will be filled with loose nut casings from the overhanging beech tree) and onward to a surfaced lane curving right for 50m.

Having turned right onto a mud track, which once again may be frozen solid, riders continue for 50m and then head left onto the grass to make a second pass of the pits before arriving at another mud track 126m later. Here, they turn left and follow it for 95m, then enter a technical 50m section with tight bends leading back to the start line. At the end of the final lap, they will continue past the start line towards the sports club building to the right of the parcours where the finish line is located (50°52'41.55"N 6° 0'12.70"E). The entire parcours is 2.56km in length.

Britain's favourite cross rider Helen Wyman won here last year, and hinted to Cyclopunk on Twitter that she believes herself to be in with a chance again this weekend - and with that 205m tarmac section to start and then a sort grassy section before 518m on tarmac, we think that the work she's been putting into improving her starts will pay dividends this time around. In several of her last races, Helen left the start line like a rocket; blasting away from the pack so quickly that even the likes of Marianne Vos couldn't keep up: if she can do that again, she may well build up enough of an early advantage to keep her lead. As the strongest British crosser around today, we wish her the best of luck. Nikki Harris has also been riding exceptionally well this season and will often do well on the same courses as Helen, doubling our chances. However, as in any CX event, keep an eye on Daphny van den Brand - this is her final season, and with Marianne Vos sitting this one out she'll certainly have her eyes on the podium's top step, while the Sannes Cant and van Paassen have both had an excellent season and may prove capable of keeping the British riders out of the top three.

01.Daphny van den BrandNEDAA Drink Cycling Team
Sanne Cant
BKCP - Powerplus
Sanne van Paassen
BrainWash Wielerploeg
Nikki Harris
Young Telenet Fidea CT
Helen Wyman
CX Groot Brittannie
Sophie de Boer
Young Telenet Fidea CT
Sabrina Stultiens
BrainWash Wielerploeg
Arenda Grimberg
CX Nederland
Joyce Vanderbeken
Style & Concept CT
Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn
Orange Babies
Nikoline Hansen
CX Denmark
Nancy Bober
Style & Concept CT
Tessa van Nieuwpoort
Stevens Racing Team
Margriet Helena Kloppenburg
CX Denmark
Amy Dombroski
16.Ellen van LoyBELCX Belgie
17.Lelde ArdavaLATDPA Cycling Team
18.Marianne AlleleijnNEDCX Nederland
19.Evy KuijpersNEDCX Nederland
20.Iris OckeloenNEDCX Nederland
21.Yara KastelijnNEDCX Nederland
22.Lotte EikelenboomNEDCX Nederland

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