This weekend Danique Braam will be participating in Dwars door het Hageland on Saturday and Dwars door de Westhoek on Sunday. The 25-year-old Dutchwoman missed the start of the season after she broke her elbow on a training ride in Spain in February. Last month, she prepared herself for the upcoming races on altitude training camp in Livigno.
Danique Braam: “It was the first time I went on an altitude training camp. I always had wanted to do that, but it never fit in my calendar. It was perfect that we could now do this with the team. I already went to Livigno one week earlier, which means I was there for three weeks. It was great to train in such beautiful surroundings and to spend time with my teammates; during a training camp you get to know each other better.”
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“The first part of the season was very frustrating for me. Immediately after my elbow operation I felt pretty fine, because it would only last four weeks until I could race, so that was not long. But after I had started competition at Nokere Koerse half of March, the problems started. Riding on cobbles and braking had too much impact on my elbow. I had to take more time for my recovery. And that period was the most frustrating, because I had no idea how long it would take. By the time I was better, it was May, a month without races, so I needed to wait until now for the first races in which I can go all in.”
And those first races are Dwars door het Hageland tomorrow and Dwars door de Westhoek on Sunday.
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Danique Braam: “This weekend I would like to be able to animate the finales and set a good result. I feel good after the training camp and I have no pain in my elbow anymore. At Dwars door het Hageland we ride on gravel and I’m looking forward to that. On such a course there’s a danger of flat tires and crashes, so you also need some luck. It’s not up to our team to take control of the race from the start, but we do need to be very attentive and ride a strong finale. At Dwars door de Westhoek we get to climb the Rodeberg three times. I think there’s only a slim chance of a sprint. It will be escapees who fight for the victory. I want to race aggressively this weekend and I am fast at the finish, so that can come in handy. This month I will also ride the Flanders Diamond Tour in Nijlen and the Lotto Belgium Tour. I also want to perform well at those races. I am really looking forward to what’s coming!”
Line-up Dwars door het Hageland 5/06: Danique Braam, Alana Castrique, Lone Meertens, Abby Mae Parkinson, Jesse Vandenbulcke and Elise Vander Sande.
Line-up Dwars door de Westhoek 6/06: Danique Braam, Alana Castrique, Abby Mae Parkinson, Anna Plichta, Silke Smulders and Jesse Vandenbulcke.