Ronde van Paterberg, A Sunday on a Hill

Can’t make it to the Ronde van Vlaanderen this Sunday? Well let this superb video take you there.

It’s 15 minutes of filming on and around the Paterberg, one of the two crucial climbs on the race route, from last year’s race. It’s as good as being there, all that is missing is the smell of fried food and the peaceful squelch of Flanders fields under your feet. You can find some beer for yourself.

Yes it’s in French and Dutch but you can still hop over the language barrier to get a feel for the place. Hear the Rodania cars, watch as the day begins and the fried food stalls open their shutters and soon the drinks flow. The fans gather for hours before the race has even started whilst locals on the course adopt different views.

We start with some holding a party even if they’re really cycling fans and, as you half expect in Belgium, someone is there in a rabbit suit. This is the country of Magritte and decorative urinating water fountains.

Next one man is obsessively taping off the entry to his house and doesn’t care for the race, he’s worried about people leaving litter, not just this race but “every week” and he really does not like the race.

Flags for Flemish independence are waved but later the group of Boonen fans say they want a Belgian to win, no matter if it’s Philippe Gilbert, a French-speaking Walloon and in fact they’d be happy if French champion Sylvain Chavanel wins because he’s a Quickstep rider, an adopted brother.

The race comes through and the only language is the cheer of the crowds and the rattle of cobbles. Watch as Team Sky’s car gets stuck and has to be pushed up the Paterberg.

Finally there’s Raymond, Tom Boonen’s grandfather gets a tear in his eye as he stands before the big screen.

The clip is part of a series of cycling films by French duo Nico Loth and Fred Adam. Loth first appeared on my radar after goofing around with Romain Feillu whilst Adam appeared on my radio as a cycling commentator for RMC radio. Together they’re putting these films out at the website and one about Team Colombia is in production.

A bordure is an echelon, the diagonal formation adopted by riders in a crosswind.

Note you can adjust the quality to suit your browser and internet connection.

24 thoughts on “Ronde van Paterberg, A Sunday on a Hill”

  1. Another excellent blog. Liked the film – it does capture the atmosphere. The new arrangements last year made for difficult viewing, unless you liked being herded into an enclosure. The organizers would be well advised to remember that their event relies on the presence of fans in large numbers to give the race atmosphere. If last years arrangements continue, I for one will not continue attending.

    • The jury’s still out on the course, it’s tiring for the riders but some TV viewers were complaining about a giant kermesse because of the laps. I wonder how the fans find the experience?

      The VIP tents, grandstands and barriers are back in place.

  2. Great vid – thanks for posting. Was thinking of heading for the Paterberg on Sunday and I think this has confirmed that we will.

    That guy barricading his drive and going completely over the top with the red tape was v amusing – so curmudgeonly. A Belgian who hates cycling, who knew?!

  3. Great film. I love seeing crowds explode seeing their favorite rider win. Usually it’s hard for me to find people who even know who the riders are.

  4. Thanks for this, before I watched this I didn’t get the new route, the race was lost to me, but after watching this it’s brought it back to me, now I’m ready for Sunday!!

  5. lived and raced in Belgium for the last couple of years. The film is a perfect summary of what’s it like including the guy closing up the access to his house. The races form part of a wider party in each village and RVV is the biggest of the lot. I was once training on the RVV course and a local politician sped past in his car, came to a halt then got out and proceeded to tell me why the climb in his village was the best climb in the RVV route. There is a lot of pride.

  6. Awesome video and awesome post, I’ve only just found your blog and this is another reason why I check it everyday for awesome insights into the cycling world. Planning my next trip to Belgium next year for the classics!

  7. Wow this has me rethinking things. The VIP tent at the 2013 Cross Worlds was awesome but seeing this makes me want to get more into the local scene. It seems to me information sharing is key.

  8. Thanks for showing us the video. I particularly liked the way the video mechanics (volume, status bar, etc.) is done out in red, gold and black – a nice touch!

  9. Thanks for this inrng. Really brought out the Belgian pride in their sport/riders.
    The chat w/Boonens grandfather was a nice touch.

    PS That clip with Roman F was a bit manic.

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