A weekend at the Hellenic Road Championship
This weekend the Hellenic Road Championship was held in Nafplion, Peloponesse and we decided to go and watch the event supporting the scene. Riding from Athens to Nafplion is a well know route to us from our Brovet rides and since a couple of friends (Andrea and Xristos) were coming from Thessaloniki to participate/watch in the Championship we decided to ride there. Xristos is a veteran of the North Greek cycling circuit riding for 1000 Dentra Cycling Club and Andreas is involved in the Thessaloniki Fixed Gear community. They took the train to Athens and around 13.30 they were at the shop where we had lunch and watched people getting crammed on ATM machines.
After closing the shop on Saturday afternoon we packed with tents and camping gear and we were joined by Thomas of Schindelhauer bikes. Andreas rode his Hellas track bike and after a smooth ride from Korinthos to Nafplio through the Argolida astonishing countryside we arrived in Drepano where we dived in the sea and had dinner. We put out tents for the night in the campsite there and woke up early next morning at 8.00 (!) for the main race.
The course was designed really great passing through Drepano, Tolo and following the coast through Vivari climbing up a beautiful hill towards Kondili making a loop just before entering the city. That was a 35 klm loop with a total distance for the race of 185 klm. Tough and really fast course. Andreas had the idea of riding up Kondili where we made camp under the shade watching the peloton climb for the first few laps and then we changed spots to watch all the other action. A group of 4-5 riders including Tzortzakis and Tamouridis – two of the strongest pro riders- broke early in the first lap followed by most of the rest of the peloton with few of our friends there. At aproxemately half distance the peloton had split into 4 main groups while the remaining riders at the end were eliminated slowly lap after lap. Christos Del – whom we travel together – was unfortunate enough to have a flat at the first lap and the skewer on his replacement wheel never really agreed to do the job it was supposed to but Chris gave a solid performance in the end finishing the race half way up the list.
The situation never really changed dramatically for the top group till the last straight line where Tzortzakis beat Tamouridis at the sprint and a possessed Gazonis shocked all of us by coming from the back and sprinting out of his brains getting the 6th posission. All in all it was a really tough race but beautifully orchestrated by EOP and everybody was happy with the action that the riders offered. After the race we hit the road again towards Athens having all the team cars passing by waving hands and giving smiles as we did our own riding back on the country roads. Really great weekend! Congrats to all.
Photos by Petros Gkotsis and Agi Kolyvas.