Cycling News

Eurofiles: Mud, techno and cyclocross

Liam Sargent on the start line

Belgium is, indisputably, the homeland of cyclocross. The courses are iconic and brutally hard. The fans are passionate and dedicated. And, during a week or so in December, there is racing almost every single day.

So what happens when a small team of Canadians lands in Belgium in the midst of all of this? Broad Street Breakaway, a new Vancouver Island team, did exactly that and found out. Along with techno, weirdly dangerous tourist attractions, they found whole lot of learning opportunities, as well as the metal part of a whole bunch of break pads.

Liam Sargent on the start line. Photo: Fabian Merino

When we first talked to Fabian and Andrew, racer, mechanic and co-leads of the BSC Breakaway project, it was just after nationals and just before heading overseas for Christmas racing in Belgium. At that time, they were both clear that this was very much a learning year. While both have experience in European racing, supporting then Women’s Continental road program Instafund LaPrima, cyclocross is its own beast. We wanted to hear how the experiment went, what was learned and what it’s like being thrown into the mix at the peak of the European cyclocross season.

Canadian Cycling Magazine: You’ve been to Europe for racing before, but on the other side of the tape. How did racing compare to your expectations?

Fabian Merino: It was unreal. The fans are amazing, very supportive and engaged with every single rider. It is truly a different sport over in Belgium. The courses are so different than what we’re used to but so fun.

CCM: What was unexpected about racing in Europe vs. what you’ve raced closer to home?

FM: The first lap dog fight was somewhat expected but still hard to imagine and prepare for it. 80-plus people wanting to be top 10 through the first couple of corners made it super hectic. It’s just carnage. People on the ground, hooking bars multiple times, people pushing you forward because they want to be in the rut you’re in… it’s seriously a don’t think just do situation.

CCM: Do you have a favourite race from the Christmas period?

FM: The Exact Cross Loenhout – Azencross. It was so muddy and the course was absolutely destroyed by the time we raced. There was a huge crash at the start which was brutal, but otherwise I had a lot of fun. I love a super messy course. It makes it fun to just put your head down and continue pushing. Also, Diegem. That was so special. So many people spectating and engaged with the race and…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…