Dutch veterans still going strong

By Brecht Decaluwé in Waregem

At the finish of the 63th edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen in Waregem, Cyclingnews managed to talk with two experienced Dutch riders about their performance in the semi-Classic that – until 2000 – was known as Dwars door België.

Willems Veranda is an unknown Belgian Continental team that received a wild-card invitation for this race. As the team will not be participating in many other big races, it was a perfect opportunity to show their value. But at the finish in Waregem, only one of the team's riders actually crossed the line, in 22th position, and unsurprisingly it was the squad's most experienced athlete Mad Max Van Heeswijk. "I feel our team received enough chances, but having the chance to show something is one thing, being able to do so is something else," the 35 year-old laughed. "Maybe we lack the form that is needed to be competitive. For me personally it was a good day. I felt I had very good legs, it's starting to come again."

As the Dutchman was soaking wet, we quickly let him go to the camper where the other riders hopefully left the former Vuelta a España stages winner some hot water. Next Saturday, the Willems Veranda team will be racing, the E3-Prijs Harelbeke.

Another Dutch veteran is Aart Vierhouten who's currently riding for the small P3 Transfer Batavus team. Vierhouten crossed the finish in 24th position together with his 13 years younger team-mate Arnoud Van Groen. Vierhouten launched a counter-attack during the finale on the cobbles, in an effort to bridge up with the first chasing group behind the leaders but fell short, making it a 'chasse patate'.

Nevertheless, the former lead-out man from Robbie McEwen was satisfied with his race. "It was pretty tight. I probably choose the wrong moment to bridge up, but in this weather it wasn't easy." When asked what an experienced rider like Vierhouten does against these soaking weather conditions, Cyclingnews received some advice. "You need to switch off your feelings and ride," Vierhouten laughed before heading to the showers.

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