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 labordure.fr and one about Team Colombia is in production.
A bordure is an echelon, the diagonal formation adopted by riders in a crosswind.
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