By Gregor Brown in Hofstade, Belgium
Lyne Bessette got off to a slow start in her return to European cyclo-cross racing. The 32 year-old talented Canadian was here a month ago, and has returned for a second go-around leading up to the World Championships in Treviso, Italy, January 27. Unfortunately, leg pains forced her out of the World Cup round number seven in Hofstade, Belgium, before concluding lap one.
"Two years ago we had to run those two long stretches, and it is easier for me to ride those sections – it was to my favour, but I did not have the legs to race them. I did one lap... I did not even finish one lap," recalled Bessette in the team bus of husband Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers.
She had just returned to Europe, where she had spent Christmas at her host's home, south of Brussels, in Wallonne. Perhaps the jet lag and holidays affected the normally rock-solid Bessette. "We got here two days ago. I feel tired, but I can usually manage better than this," the experienced rider reckoned.
"As soon as we started I did not have the fight in me to do anything. Everyone was crashing in front of me, and I didn't really want to fight. I did not have the focus to race – to hurt myself... I am having a hard time. I would rather stop than finish last. I don't know if I will start the next race [Friday in Loenhout, Belgium]. For me, to stop today, it is almost a relief than to do 40 minutes of suffering."
Preferring to listen to her body rather than press and her competitors, Bessette is hoping the next week and then a trip to Switzerland will be the proper tune-up for the Worlds. "I have to accept some things. I have to listen to myself. I know some probably will say 'she should have finished, et cetera.' I think about what others say in my career, and that has been hurting me a lot.
"The Worlds is still far away. I will give it a shot in the next couple of races to see how it goes. I will head to Switzerland with Tim – the pressure will be less there, and I will just ride my bike to see how it goes. I think it will get better from there."