Sunday, 1 April 2012

Ronde van Vlaanderen 2012

This is going to be one of the very rare non-grub posts on this blog but I had a great time at this year's Ronde van Vlaanderen so here's a few words about it. For as long as I've known him (and longer!), JD has been an avid follower of professional road cycling. This has taken him to the Alps and beyond for a couple of cycling holliers with his chums. It is thanks to him that I have started to begin to understand the intricacies of race strategy and developed an interest in watching Le Tour every summer :)

My fav pro-cyclist is Fabian Cancellara, a time trial and Classics specialist. He had a particularly "purpley" patch in his career in 2010 where he won Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris Roubaix in the same year! Of these 2 races, Ronde van Vlaanderen is the more interesting for spectators with more varied viewpoints from where to watch the race. We managed to bag a top notch spot by the railings on the side of the cobbles at the Oude Kwaremont. This was all within the fan's enclosure area so we also had a fine view of the race on a large TV during the times when it was not passing by.

It was a great day out and seeing the peloton riding in front of you is very special. I had bought a bell (Swiss, to show my allegiances, haha!!) especially to cheer the peloton on so was ringing like mad the first time they passed and only just managed a glimpse of Fabu....actually it was a case of spot the dude with the large Swiss flag on the back of his jersey :)

The parcours changed this year and the cyclists would be going up Oude Kwaremont 3 times!! Didn't take any pics since I figured I would see the cyclists another 2 more times and pre-race, Fabu had already been mentioned as one of the top contenders for the win. Alas, it was not to be......whilst going through a feed station, he got knocked off his bike by a stray water bottle (??!!), fell heavily, broke his collarbone in 3 places and had to abandon the race. To say I was gutted was an understatement.....such bad luck!!! But as JD kept telling me, that's racing. I spent the rest of the race "in mourning" :(

Aside from that, the race was actually quite exciting and everyone around us was mega-happy as home favourite Tom Boonen took the win....actually the whole enclosure pretty much erupted when he crossed the finish line. Great day out - the people of Flanders really know how to put on a great race (I know, they have had years of experience doing it!), we will be back to see Fabu win again some day!! :)
Roadside fanclub :)

Gridlock 1k out from Oude Kwaremont!
 The kiddies race, which took place before the pro-race. Great spectacle and lovely to see kids being so enthusiastic of the sport. My favourite part of the trip was seeing one of the kids struggling with the cobbles and was pushing his bike up the steep slope. Then, in a stroke of genius, he did a running start and jumped back on his bike again. Needless to say, he got the biggest cheer from the crowds! :)

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