This weekend marks our second year anniversary sponsoring and working with The Belgian Project. This weekend’s race is the international Tour of the North based in the Ballymena area for 2017. The starting field boasts one of the strongest to date. Many riders coming from across the water and travelling up from the south of Ireland.
My role this year in the team is slightly different to previous races as I will now be taking on the role of Director Sportif (DS). I gained some experience of working as a DS last year when managing the Cycling Ulster Womens Team to Ras na mBan success. The team came home with Best County Team award, Best County rider (Bike WorkX sponsored rider Claire McIlwaine) and also occupying 2nd and 3rd County Riders (Katharine Smyth and Heather Foley).
The Belgian Project team for Tour of the North is young, but is strong and very ambitious. The team members are Gary Donaldson (Omagh Wheelers and Bike WorkX sponsored rider) who will bring a wealth of experience to the team and will lead the boys on the road as road captain. Andrew Chivers (North Down) who has started off the season really well getting a number of notable results to move from A2 to A1. Andy Maguire (Rossbury Racing) travelling up from Wexford to play his role in the team, another strong rider has proved very consistent this season with some notable top 10 results in big races. The final two members of the team are Conor McCann (UVCA Troyes) and Brandon Douglas (West Down Wheelers). Whilst young, Conor has a wealth of experience through racing in the under age categories and doing extremely well as a junior hence the fact he is riding full-time in France. Brandon is at the opposite end of the spectrum, first year Espoir but has still managed to get enough points to move from A3 to A2 in a short space of time. As previously said, the team is young (all espoirs) but still has plenty of experience and most importantly plenty of ambition.
The set up this year again is second to none. Dany has worked extremely hard to make sure the boys have the most organised, professional support possible. From a Bike WorkX point of view, I am privileged to be working alongside other sponsors of the project such as InTouch Network Solutions, Powerhouse Sport, Victory Chimp, Webster Financial Services, Elite Timing, FuelForFirst, Bike Pure, David McCall Foundation and McConvey Cycles just to name a few. This might sound biased, but I think the kit is absolutely wicked! Garth and Dany have done such a great job!!!
This year I will miss the craic around the breakfast table with Maggie and the backroom support. However, I will be looking forward to tucking in to some of her cooking over the course of the weekend.
Final mention for the coming weekend goes to the dedicated Belgian Project Media Team, David and Caolan who work tirelessly not only this weekend but throughout the year capturing the best moments of domestic racing. Hoping to get a nice profile pic for the Facebook this weekend.
Stay tuned this weekend to see how the boys get on. We hope to see the jersey on plenty of podiums and in plenty of breaks!!!