Assen 2016 – Stage 6 – The Final Criterium

By | 12/08/2016

There’s a melancholy feeling in the air today – racing is nearly over. The week has been strangely relaxing in a way I didn’t expect – the schedules have been tight, and there have been many early starts and tense moments but it has been so all absorbing I have forgotten about the rest of the world. There is something special about a holiday with teenagers when you don’t have to drag them around or persuade them out of bed. They are utterly preoccupied with the race, it’s where they want to be. Then they have clubmates to relax with afterwards.
Today’s racing is again fast and furious, with the final GC positions being decided. Carys crashes and unfortunately loses lots of places in GC, she was right up there as third girl but that is out of reach now. Owen and Daniel both win sprint points today. Owen finishes a fantastic 4th in the final GC classification, the highest ever GC finish for LVYCC.

 Luke finishes a very creditable 13th today, putting him 20th in GC for which he receives an Assen trophy. Anna finishes 5th in this race, 11th overall in GC, an excellent result particularly considering she will be in the same age category next year. Ritchie has a problem with his brakes and Harrison is the first of our Category 7s to finish the crit. Dexter is the highest of the Cat 7 finishers in GC. Ben Selfe is the highest LVYCC finisher in the huge and incredibly competitive Nieuwelingen category.

James Ambrose Parish and Callum Mackie compete in their last ever Assen race today. They have been coming here for eight years, testament to just how much the event is enjoyed by the riders. Sadly James crashes close to the finish of the race, he is unhurt but frustrated. He does have his podium place in the Classic to keep though as a lasting memory. The LVYCC team next year will be missing a mechanic – Bruce Mackie – and a medical advisor – Kate Ambrose. It is the end of an era. It was Kate who began the Assen tradition here, persuading the Mackies and then the Jensens to join her.

Bob and Julie made their first trip here with their sons back in 2005, then were persuaded back by Kate as the number of LVYCC riders grew. It was wonderful to have their support this week – gave the whole thing more of a team feeling. I hope they know how much the club means, and has meant, to so many young riders. It’s not just the sport, it’s also the sense of community and belonging.

In all I have been glad to be here this week. The race organisation was awe inspiring in it’s calm efficiency. To gather so many willing volunteers together and put so much infrastructure in place, then keep it all running to time with over 750 participants and easily three times as many spectators was quite something. Thank you to all of them. In their latest tweet the organisers point out that both Anna van der Breggen and Emma Johansson both raced at Assen in their youth. The tour must have taught many young riders valuable lessons in racing and improved their riding as a result.