On Sunday, 22 May, Philip Buys (Garmin-adidas) made cycling history in Yorkshire’s Dalby Forest when he raced across the finishing line at the second UCI Cross Country World Cup event.
It was the first time that Buys finished a World Cup race.
“I really enjoyed myself while I was out on the course. It was tough but pleasant. The only bit of bad luck that I experienced during the race was when had to stop to “bomb” my tyre. That was when I realized that it was one thing to race in South Africa and something quite different to race in Europe.
“Even though I stopped for just a few seconds, 15 riders passed me. Luckily I did not panic. Once I was back on my bike, I just kept on riding at my own pace. It paid dividends because during the last lap I managed to pass ten riders.”
Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) won the six-lap race with Julien Absalon (Orbea) second and Maro Fontana (Cannondale) third. Buys finished about 12 minutes behind the winner.
South Africa’s Burry Stander (Specialized) finished 7th, 1 minute and 51 seconds behind the winner.
If Philip Buys (Garmin-adidas) could have one wish as a professional mountain biker, it would definitely be not to fall ill before a major race.
As luck would have it, he missed out on vital training before the World Cup.
“I don’t know what exactly was wrong with me. I just did not feel well. Perhaps my body was rebelling because of the lack of sleep on the airplane. Anyway, I decided to play it safe and not to take any risks before the World Cup.
“I intended to compete in a sprint race in the streets of Pickering, but because I was still not feeling on top of the world I did not participate.
“It was a pity because there were 60 UCI ranking points on offer for the rider who would win the race, as well as prize money totaling
£1 000. I think the organizers paid out up to the 15th place. I certainly could have done with a few pounds in my wallet.”
Marc Bassingthwaighte (Garmin-adidas) described the course as fast and fun, and nothing too crazy to ride.
“The climbs where long and steep. The gun went and I thought I had kept my position of 70 something through the start loop. After the first lap I was a bit shocked to see I was in 96th place, said Bassingthwaighte.
“The race was extremely fast, but I felt held back on the climbs. I was never ahead on the switchback climb, where I guess I could have made up most of my time on the course. I was tense through most of the race, partly to the coldness and partly to being nervous I guess.
“I had some stiff muscles and felt like I was riding with my upper body instead of my legs. I only slowly passed riders. In the end I crossed the line in 74th place, two places down from my starting place. That doesn’t sound like much. But I was still only 11 min off the pace, which is the closest I got in a world cup.”
Sunday in Offenburg can only be better. Phil and I are now both in the WC vibe and Offenburg is a course we know already. We will fight our way through the start lap and are better prepared for things
According to Buys he was impressed with the hospitality of the Brits.
“They could not do enough for us. I have never drunk so much tea and I was even spoiled with England’s famous fish and chips, served with mushed peas. I must admit that the mushed peas did not look very appetizing.”
This coming weekend Buys and Marc Bassingthwaighte will compete in in the Offenburg World Cup.
“Things can only be better. Phil and I are now both in the World Cup vibe and Offenburg is a course we know already. We will fight our way through the start lap and are better prepared for things,” said Bassingthwaighte