Assen week – Facebook Q&A transcript
23 July 2014
Over the last few months we’ve been publishing articles about the European Junior Cycling Tour (Assen week) to help British riders & parents prepare for the event. Now here’s all the information that was given in our live question & answer session last night.
Thanks to Richard, Josh and Rebecca Maynard of Welwyn Wheelers for their time and their advice.
Don’t forget to check out all of our other Assen content too.
Q. Travelling to the start of races: they all seem fairly local. Car or bike? I’m staying in Witterzommer.
A. All the races are ridable, the furthest is 15 miles, the omloop at kosvites, but it is a really nice ride. However as a rider you may want a lift and often it is good to have the car to bring over everything else. Also the Klasiker is dependant on your age group. Cats 1-5 is rideable all age cats above will need a car. All this is dependant on where you are staying. Witterzommer is good. The prologue and Goudekust and race HQ and associated races are all within 15mins.
Q. Local bike shops and spares: are there plenty available or do we need to be self-sufficient?
A. There are three shops in town, one of which runs the tent at Race HQ. Generally repairs such as wheels and gears are done overnight by all the shops but in our experience parts specific to your bike, such as gear-hangers, need to be taken with you.
Q. During criterium-style races do they operate a “lap out” policy like in the UK?
A. Just the Goudekust. The rest are too long a distance but they have service cars following.
Q. What’s the deal with spare wheels? Do we need to hand in spares for the service cars?
A. Everyone in Nieuwlingen and Junior Cats should now know which wheels they are taking to hand in. If your number finishes with a 0,1,2 then it’s a front wheel – every other number it’s a back wheel. These have to be handed in at the containers at the back of HQ prior to registration on Sunday afternoon/evening.
Q. So nothing to do for cats 1-7 then..? I take it if they puncture it’s race over?
A. They do service for everyone but they hand out 16t up cassettes to everyone. So if you’re racing with smaller gears then you’ll be spinning to the end of the race!
No outside assistance from parents/club coaches etc. is allowed during a race. If a rider has a puncture thay will be given one from the stock from a service car. At registration one of the things you’ll be given if you’re handing a wheel in is a number of stickers with your Cat and number which you stick on all wheels. Thus when you finish a race and you’ve had a spare wheel you go back to the container and exchange wheels. You’ll get your race wheel back but it won’t have been repaired!
The service crews don’t have time to differentiate between carbon and aluminium rims, just 10 or 11 speed.
At the prologue the service crew is at the top of the straight, half a kilometre out.
Q. What’s the registration process on Sunday?
A. The wheel hand-in opens at 13.00hrs and registration at 14.00hrs. Both go on until 18.00hrs. In the past we found it good not to go too early but to plan on spending a little time, maybe have a drink, soak up some atmosphere and work out where things are at HQ.
Q. What’s the racing style at Assen like?
A. My best answer is that it is a lot more intense and the riders are less afraid, therefore everyone is a lot more assertive. It is probably the hardest but most fun week you will ever race.
Unless you have raced abroad before Assen will be a completely alien experience. The closest comparison in British racing is a national event. Just the speed and number of riders makes the racing very intense with a great deal of concentration needed for every moment of the races. Racing hard for a number of days in a row also brings its own unique challenges and getting as much rest as possible is recommended.
Because of the multi-day nature of the race recovery becomes as important as actually racing. Eating, sleeping and taking on fluids is paramount to any kind of success.