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Old 08-14-05, 01:25 PM   #1
wesjac1418
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Racing in Belgium or Italy.

I am turning 18 soon and dont want to study next year after school. I want to go and race in either Italy or Belgium. I have struggled to find info on where to stay ,Kermesse calendars, prices and familys willing to take a juniour in. I realize how difficult the racing is there but I have to take that step if I want to get better. If anybody has any suggestions or information, it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-14-05, 02:12 PM   #2
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I've never heard of it personally- a family taking in someone so they can race.

Maybe the best thing for you is to find (in your own country) a coach and/or team that can recognize your talent and take you under their wing. If you're good enough, they'll find a way to get you out there so you can race and train.

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Old 08-14-05, 02:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by wesjac1418
I am turning 18 soon and dont want to study next year after school. I want to go and race in either Italy or Belgium. I have struggled to find info on where to stay ,Kermesse calendars, prices and familys willing to take a juniour in. I realize how difficult the racing is there but I have to take that step if I want to get better. If anybody has any suggestions or information, it would be greatly appreciated.

Of course there are families that take in cyclists. Just make sure you've got some talent. Potential is everything when you are young and want any help.

Belgium is definitely the place to go. High quality races throughout the summer for juniors. Quite a few to choose from, with a lot during the week as well.

When you turn 19 there will be races everyday to pick off the calendar. Espoirs (beloften) and regular elite without contract (amateur).

You speak Afrikaans? Big benefit, but everyone knows English there anyway. TV has tons of English.

Finding a family is not super easy without a contact, so you may need to get over there, get a couple results, and spread the word about what you are hoping to do. People notice the foreigners and respect anything in the top 20 when you first arrive.

Check out www.cyclingcenter.com
Also, send emails to all the teams. You never know what might happen.
Got more questions? Post 'em and I'll give you what I have.

BTW- I raced six summers there and met tons of great supporters of the sport
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Old 08-14-05, 10:27 PM   #4
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Thanks alot for the great reply. It says under your name that you are a juniour, are you and how was the racing there. Do you come from SA? Would you cycle in Italy? Please send me some more info. Ive got a few connections here in South Africa but I dont think they can help too much. Thanks again.
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Old 08-15-05, 05:34 AM   #5
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Thanks alot for the great reply. It says under your name that you are a juniour, are you and how was the racing there. Do you come from SA? Would you cycle in Italy? Please send me some more info. Ive got a few connections here in South Africa but I dont think they can help too much. Thanks again.
No, I am not from SA, and I am now 40 y.o. My racing in Belgium was during the late 90's. I do have several SA friends though. A couple of them raced in Belgium back in the early 90's. Look up Andre Bekker in J-burg or email Clive DeSouza at www.glorycycles.com He is now an American living in Orlando, Florida, USA. Both those guys still have some connections in Belgium.

Don't know much about racing in Italy, but I do know that any amateur that is not on a team in most Euro countries, will find it hard to get into races. As well, most of those countries are spread out and would require a car and good support.

That is why I always recommend Belgium to any aspiring racer. You'll have numerous races within a bike ride, and the sport is really appreciated by the Flemish public, so finding help once you get there is easy if you show potential.

You will most likely want to stay near Gent. I never stayed there, as I had friends in lots of other towns that I stayed with or near, but Gent has always been tons of foreigners staying around there. Cheap hostels and a couple teams that love to take on the foreigners. Plus, Gent is nicely located to many, many races.
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Old 08-15-05, 06:10 AM   #6
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You can get better in the U.S., but the real education comes from long days with your nose on your stem and your wheels in a Belgian gutter.

I'll track down the email address for a friend of mine who can fill you in. He was there. Now he's on a pro team here.

If I were young and had it all to do over again, I'd either race my bike in Europe, or work harder at golf.
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Old 08-15-05, 12:08 PM   #7
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Thanks, I will try and contact those guys.
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Old 08-15-05, 04:53 PM   #8
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Yup....like YMCA said, it's very hard to get to race in Italy unless you're on a national team or the like.

Hit Belgium. You'll have the time of your life!
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