Very soon, I will be time trialing with my younger brother in Belgium. Hans has been participating in TTs almost on a weekly basis these past few months with top-10 finishes and easily averaging 42km/h (including the usual menu of several sharp U-turns). Very excited about this event!
My younger brother completed the full amateur version of the RVV 258km in all and good for 3300m of vertical gain! This clearly shows one should never underestimate all those little “berg” hills in Flanders.
This year’s edition went a lot smoother for my brother, Hans, who has been training all winter for this event. According to Hans, “it was good until about 30K to go and then unicorns started jumping fences and it got a bit weird, but apart from that and a few mechanicals (pump and bottle falling off – dropped chain once) , it was good*”.
Hans cleared all of the berg hills without unclipping except once when a somebody crashed right in front of him on the Koppenberg.
Many Italians, Spaniards, Dutch, Americans and even a few Japanese were participating along with my brother.
Will I ever be able to join him in one of the future editions of this spectacular event ? (* this was actually said by Australian pro rider Simon Clarke)
With namesake Boonen out of this year's Tour de France to nurse a knee injury, I am - together with my cycling loving compatriots - pinning my hopes on Jurgen Van den Broeck of the Omega Pharma-Lotto Team to bring Belgium back in the limelight. This 27-year old, media-shy Fleming has yet to build a track record but has been quite impressive in the mountains lately. A mountain stage win would be wonderful...and who knows a 3rd place or better in the final standings wearing the polka jersey!
Received many pictures this morning from my youngest daughter studying in Belgium. Exams finally over, she is enjoying her vacation riding her Dutch Gazelle bicycle. If she really wants, I'd like to take her to Nishitani-san's O-Vest to get her a real "road racer"...
Younger brother Hans almost reached his average speed target of 40km/h at the recent time trial competition in Ostend. This time with a 53T standard crankset and a one-piece TT outfit, he managed to average 39.630 km/h good for a 34th place! Winner was Rudi D B on a Cervelo P4 (pictured below).
Hans is still riding a normal aluminum road bike and this obviously puts him in a disadvantageous position ! Once he reaches his goal (40km/h average), he is getting himself a "decent" flatbar TT bike !
He survived fairly well. Got mud all over his face and was forced to get off his bike only three times. He left in a group of about 3000 from Bruges and did the entire 255 km at an average of 26.8 km/h. Headwind was at times as strong as 60km/h with lots of rainfall and an average temperature of 7 degrees...typical Flemish weather. According to my little brother, it helped that he consumed something called GUARAMAX...but I don't know what this stuff is... . Hope to be able to take a week off next year (I always say that...) and ride with my little brother. That would be neat.
Last evening, I was about to go to bed when I saw Andy’s blog entry pop up on my dashboard…"Tour of Flanders Live" it said. Too nice to be true I thought but a minute later after clicking on the link and signing up, my PC produced live coverage in Flemish of De Ronde! I stayed up watching the last 60 kilometers until a little before midnight - very rare for me as I usually hit the sack before 10 pm. What a thrilling spectacle unfolded there right in my living room! Top favorites Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara attacked right on the Molenberg and only Hayman and Flecha were able to offer fight, not for very long though. Millar then launched a counterattack and two more Belgians - Philippe Gilbert and Bjorn Leukemans – managed to join him to form the trio that would chase the two leaders in vain. Sprintbomb Tornado Boonen looked powerful in danseuse while Cancellara remained very composed and mostly seated over the cobbles. It happened right on the Muur van Geraardsbergen...an out-of-the-saddle and visually cramping Boonen suddenly slowed down on the very last stretch of de Muur in front of the little chapel and merciless gladiator Fabian was gone for good! The gap between both men widened extremely fast and with 13 more kilometers to go, Cancellara could already enjoy a lead of 35 seconds. What an awesome display of brute force by Cancellara! The Swiss rolled on and more than deservedly became the victor of the 94th edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. I hadn’t watched a live coverage of a pro cycle race in many, many years and that made the experience all the more feverish for me. On Saturday, my little brother had successfully finished the entire pro circuit – no punctures and having had to dismount on the steep cobbles only a couple times, the last time at exactly the same spot where Boonen had to let his archrival go. Looking forward to watching Paris-Roubaix live now!