It’s midday on Friday following Ronde Van Vlaaderen. We’ve just slept for 10 hours for the 4th consecutive night in a row. A weekend (which actually turned out to be 3 days) on the piss with Father Hitteur aka ‘The Boozefather’ and Hitteur’s younger brother have taken its toll. This is the first sentence we’ve written since then, which means this report is late, really late. Like… at least 3 days late. Also, you probably all know the result now. Which kind of makes writing about the 100th Tour of Flanders pretty pointless. Anyway, we thought we’d share some conclusions about our weekend.
Belgian’s really love bikes. Like, really love bikes. We’ve done most of the other races but there is nothing quite like Bruges on the morning of the race. Even your grandma is there, reading a copy of Het Nieuwsblad, smoking a fag.
It is remarkably easy to get sunburnt. Even in Belgium, in April.
There is absolutely nothing to do in Bruges apart from eat overpriced (but good quality) food and drink strong beer. You might call us philistines but there is not much point visiting unless you’re proposing to your wife, or watching bikes. Pity the poor (pregnant and sober) woman whose husband we bumped into 3 times over the weekend, and each time was progressively more pissed. We salute you, brother.
Peter — “It’s always better to drop everybody” — Sagan, is a freak of human nature and we’re never going to be professional athletes.
It hurts to walk on cobbles. It hurts just to look at some of them. The noise when 180 athletes ride across them on a push bike, at speed, in a race, for money, to win is I-N-S-A-N-E.
Kwaremont beer tastes as good as it’s branding looks. Fuckin’ delicious thank you very much.
Belgians love beer. And they love to start drinking early. We can booze, but these lot are heroes when it comes to all day drinking. They were pouring bottles of 9% Chimay down their necks at 07:30am.
The English guy standing on Oude Kwarement in a brand new rapha jersey that was two sizes too small and left his beer gut and M&S pants sticking out while waving a Team Sky flag is everything we hate about cycling in the UK right now. Fuck off, you embarrassing posh cunt.
Sat nav is really useful when you’re trying to watch bike races. Also Bruges is quite far from the Oude Kwaremont, and just as far from Calais. And changing your ferry time 20 minutes before you miss it is a) expensive, and b) very difficult to do in Frenglish when you’ve been on the sauce all day.
Strength will mostly triumph over numbers but Team Sky are getting closer to that monument, while Etixx are getting further away. (They’ll probably win Roubaix now).
There are lots of crop fields but we’re yet to believe that any vegetables exist in Belgium.
The women’s circuit just isn’t very competitive right now and Lizzie Armitstead is easily the boss of it. The time gaps and physiques don’t lie, we’re afraid.
CANYON//SRAM Racing kit is fucking nice.
Lotto-Soudal have the best looking team cars.
The Tour of Flanders matters. Like, much more than the Tour of France, Tour of Britain or any poxy crit race in the UK. It’s origins and purpose have a political, cultural and geographical importance, and you can tell.
Tyler Farrar’s ponytail cumman bun is really fucking dreadful and he should cut it off immediately.
There are some really shit tattoos in the pro-peloton.
It’s unpopular, but the moto riders have some serious bollocks and are very good at driving.
The new course is really good for spectators on the Oude Kwaremont. We saw the men’s race pass three times and the women’s place once.
Cycling still offers the best day out going. Their is a rather idyllic, almost naive innocence to enjoying sport at such close proximity which hasn’t been monetised beyond belief. The hangover is well worth it.
Special thanks to Kristof Ramon for the photos.