Friday, January 31, 2014

Hoogerheide 2-The Course

Hoogerheide 2: The Course  

 This drop off is about 350 meters before the finish line. 

 But this run-up (as steep as Northampton's run-up but shorter by say 10 meters) is right before that drop off. 

This is a photo from the 2009 Worlds at Hoogerheide and ashow the expected crowds this Sunday.  
This is inside that double-decker VIP area.

These guests will have a killer view of the riders, but not in the key areas.

The guys are tacking down a foamy carpet on the two-way fly-over.

The course doubles back on itself twice, right in front of the VIPs. The view will be like watching the escalators at Macy's!

At one of the 180-degree turns, you get a clue as to how gooey this course could become. 

You can see the roped-off sections for racing versus pre-riding. The result will be a wide-open course on the race days. 

There a few hard-packed gravel sections that will be fast in all weather.

Some of the wide open grass sections. 

The staff and volunteers, some here joking around on the podium, are perhaps the best I have ever seen. Professional, but fun. 

For  you race nuts, I'll give you the quick rub on the Hoogerheide course. It's not too hard. But any course is only as hard as the riders racing on it.  
There are no barriers, as only Adrie Van Der Poel would have it. 
There are four surfaces: two paved stretches; a gooey mud that can get deep; a thick grass; and some gritty hard-packed gravel pathways. There is neither sand nor major mud stretches ... yet. They have roped off much of the course to force the pre-ride to one side to preserve the key grass stretches. Again, Adrie Van Der Poel wants a fast course. 
There is nothing on it that is SO technical that any decent amateur could not ride. After  all the hub-bub from American riders saying our courses are not hard enough, this is a course event I could ride. 
The final 500 meters has a tough run-up (some claim they saw one guy ride it), a drop-off, and a punchy little up hill before the sprint. 
The sprint is long; long enough to allow a strong rider to wind up a big gear and come past a "quicker" pure sprinter. 
This course favors the strong and fast over the quick and nimble. 
The first turn is super dangerous; but after that stack up the first lap will not be that selective. The course is really, really wide. 
The second lap will allow a lot of riders to come back from mistakes.  
Everything about this course will favor the fast Lars Van Der Haar over the nimble Sven Nys.  
But consequently, Katie Compton will not have to worry about Marianne Vos' quick start; the course favors the strong like Compton. One can come back from some mistakes. 
It's a really good course for Jeremy Powers. 
Patience. Patience. Patience. 
This should be a far more tactical race than recent editions ... which I like.  
Zdenek Stybar will play a key role in the men's race. I doubt he will win, but he will be strong enough to chase down a lot of early moves. He will be the glue in the lead bunch. 
Keep a start list handy and a second computer; you'll want to look up a lot of names you may not know during the first half of this race.
But what the the hell do I know? 

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