Overijse is a classic course, a monument cross in the past perhaps, but one I’ve never put my name on the winners list. To come back to it this year was really cool, however with a sub-optimal performance the day before in Essen I have to say my hopes weren’t too high. I can’t really explain the Essen ride yet, it was just a bad day.Helen by Bart Raeymaekers - overijse 5

It’s a hilly course with sweeping but technical descents. They throw a few cobbles in there just to remind you you’re in Belgium. I started well, and by the first real climb I took the lead. I felt confident on the course and had dialled everything in on the pre-rides. To my surprise I took a small lead, around 7 to 10 seconds, but was never really able to drive home that advantage and stretch it to 20 seconds plus.

Several riders were pushing the chase to get me back and on the final lap I finally lost the lead and had to settle for second. The most important thing is I felt good. It was a fast course and I know when I’m up there in the fast ones, I can be a real threat on the tougher courses. So everything seems to be on track and I’ve got an exciting but exhausting couple of weeks of training planned now before hitting the traditional block of racing over Christmas in Belgium and Holland.

Helen by Bart Raeymaekers - overijse 6