Last weekend it was time for one of the bigger fixed gear crits in the NL Crit Series, the ‘Ronde van Kralingen’. Among others, strong riders like Davíd van Eerd, Eamon Lucas (who just flew straight from Italy where he won the Fiorino Crit), Kaj Verhaegh, Jan-Willem Groeneveld, and Brian Megens lined up to race in almost tropical conditions. The ‘Ronde van Kralingen’ is a race in the heart of the lively neighbourhood Kralingen, Rotterdam. Historically the race as one of the oldest road criteriums in the Netherlands but stopped to exist several decades ago. On initiative of various locals the race is back on the calendar again since several years.
Text: Merlijn Spenkelink & Brian Megens
Photos: Merlijn Spenkelink & Steve Where’s Tom
In the Men’s A Crit it was full gas from the gun. It was Cornelius Kersten who managed to take the first prime and managed to break-away from the peloton for a lap or two. His attack was countered by Eamon Lucas who increased the pace dramatically and the peloton started to break up in pieces slowly. As soon as Eamon’s attack was neutralised it was Brian Megens who broke away from the front group. Davíd van Eerd made the jump to Brian and for half a lap there was a duo break-away. Eamon immediately knew that with several Team WIT riders being with him he could not afford to let the duo go away. With an explosive jump a managed to bridge the gap alone making it a break-away of 3. Mid-way the race the 3 were still together and it was Davíd who took the mid-prime. With both Eamon and Davíd having won several crits this year and also having a very strong sprint, they were the favourites of this 3 man break-away. However, with 7 laps to go Brian attacked leaving both Davíd and Eamon behind who were looking at each other. Neither of them was willing to bridge the gap for the other. Eamon tried to bridge the gap a couple of times but with Davíd sticking on his wheel he abandoned his mission. Meanwhile, Brian was pushing a high and steady pace making the gap grow rapidly giving him a 30 second lead with 4 laps to go. It looked like Brian would comfortably cruise to the victory knowing that Eamon and Davíd were not willing to work together. Nevertheless, a flat in the last 2 laps did make it tricky for Brian, but luckily for him it was a slow leak making him able to stay on the bike and by doing so take his first fixed gear crit win of the season. It was Eamon Lucas who out sprinted Davíd van Eerd taking 2nd place while Davíd had to settle for 3rd.
The B race started off fast, and it was Robert Haaijema who set up the pace from the front. His pace was so high he created a gap after half a lap, leaving the peloton chasing him. There wasn’t any collaboration in the peloton, meaning the pace dropped after a couple of laps while Robert was still solo in the lead. He managed to open up a gap of more than a minute, securing his victory and succeeding in an enormous solo attempt! The peloton sprint for the second place was won by Daan Salters, and Pim Imenkamp got 3rd.
The ladies race also was a tough one. Because of the high pace of the B peloton in the beginning all the ladies were riding solo, trying to defend their place on the tough and windy parcours. Tamara de Graaf took home her first victory, Susanne Bakkenist got 2nd and Pia Hennigfeld got 3rd!
Men’s A podium
1. Brian Megens – FGC by Lemar
2. Eamon Lucas – Specialized/Rocket-Espresso
3. Davíd van Eerd – Team WIT
Men’s B podium
1. Robert Haaijema – Sir-Pete x Treshombres
2. Daan Salters –
3. Pim Imenkamp –
1. Tamara de Graaf – Bikecenter Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
2. Susanne Bakkenist – Spacemonkey
3. Pia Hennigfeld – NLTCBMBC