(Oregon racer Jacob Rathe, Hammer/CMG Racing, is currently in Belgium with the USA Cycling Junior National Team. He sent Cycling Action this report).
APRIL 11 -- Yesterday evening we started a four day stage race, Ster Zuid Van Limburg (something like that), here near the border of Belgium and the Netherlands. We did a 5.3 k prologue starting and ending in the same small town. It was very nice and warm, close to 20 degrees Celsius with moderate steady wind. It started uphill, over a few rollers and back in to town with the last 1.5k slightly uphill with a steady headwind.
Team USA did great. US National TT Champion Adam Leibovitz took the leader's jersey with a time of 6 min 21 sec, and I came in 7th with a time of 6 min 28 sec. The next placed US rider was 11th, and all of us were in the top 30 of the 185 rider field.
We have a lot of work to do to keep the lead over the next 3 days...today we have a 112 k stage. The race will most likely be decided in the time bonuses given out at different sprint points along the stage and at the finish.
It is very nice in this area of Belgium, very old. And plenty of road furniture ...
The father of one of Rathe's teammates posted some video HERE.