A show of hands amongst the PEZ-Crew says this is our favorite week of the cycling year: cobblestones, nasty bergs, cold winds and all kinds of kind of weather set the stage for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. PEZ is there, and Lee Rodgers filed this report after a day on the bike and night on the beers...
Very few climbs in modern bike racing can still bring a bike racer to his knees. With the evolution of intelligent gearings, the steepest climbs have been tamed, well, as much as they can be. The Koppenberg, however, defies all technological advances and takes us back to a time when plodding upward on foot was just as common as pedaling.
Classics Preview: The Tour of Flanders defines this region, and for many fans it defines the Spring Classics themselves, but the race itself would be almost nothing without its steep nasty bergs, and of course… the cobbles. Riding the Tour of Flanders Cyclosportif lets you experience it all for yourself.
Better known as the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen cycling museum, a few hours spent here is a must for any true cycling fan visiting Belgium. Add in riding the famous cobbled bergs of the Tour of Flanders route, some fine Belgian beer, and meeting a Belgian legend and you've got a perfect weekend.
There's been a lot of chatter about the Tour of Flanders this past week since the organizers have again changed the parcours of the great event after supposedly listening to fans' input. Nothing beats the old parcours though, as PEZ-Man Gord Cameron saw in the best possible way earlier this year - from the saddle.
Earlier this year our roving reporter Gordan returned to Belgium to ride the feared Kemmelberg where he had some unfinished business to attend to. Here's Gord's story of a special ride through the Belgian heartland.
Gord is bouncing around on the kasseien and hellingen of one of the sport's most hallowed regions. Travelling with Peter and Lisa Easton of Velo Classic Tours, it's time to get up close and personal with the brutality of what the pros will face in the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Roadside Report: While Richard was enjoying an amazing day with VeloClassic Tours, Ashley and Jered were on their bikes in search of as many photo locations as possible in the finale of Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen. They managed twelve. Let's take a photo look back at their day...
On the eve of Belgium’s greatest race, speculation is rampant as to how considerable course changes and the improved form of certain perennial race favorites will play on what many are calling the most challenging Tour of Flanders of the modern era. One such rider is 2010 winner Fabian Cancellara who believes the more difficult course will prove to be a better overall race that favors the strongest and smartest riders. While Cancellara is widely considered a favorite this weekend, it remains to be seen whether Spartacus can repeat his 2010 success and claim a second win in Vlaanderens Mooiste.
Race Preview: ‘It’s one thing starting the Ronde as favourite; it’s quite another thing winning it as favourite. It is a long road between Brugge and Oudenaarde, it’s stress every metre of the way; you must be able to handle that constant stress. You must be 100%, all of your team must be 100%, no bad luck whatsoever can befall you, and even then you might be beaten by a better rider on the day.’ Those were the words of Johan Museeuw, earlier this week – one of only three men in 95 editions to win the race three times.
The Tour of Flanders is tough enough to have ensured that no rider has ever won it more than three times - and there have been only four who have managed it. One of those riders was an Italian, Fiorenzo Magni.
Roadside: When I left off in Part One, the break was in its death throes, the field was lined out following the Knokteberg, and the day's first major berg, the Oude Kwaremont, was next on the misery list with just under 90 kilometers remaining until someone's childhood dream would be fulfilled in front of thousands in Meerbeke.
As part of our 10 year celebration of what’s cool in pro cycling, we’re scouring the archives for moments and stories that helped define PEZ. In 2004 I first journeyed to Flanders and Roubaix, to see for myself the cradle of so many heroic exploits and ride the hallowed cobbles and bergs that make Springtime in Belgium a month unto itself.
Roadside: All eyes have rightly been focused on Italy this week, but in between yesterday's fantastic race and tomorrow's Roadside report from Ale, we'll take a quick trip back to Belgium for a little photo essay of a classic midweek race in Belgium - the Nokere Koerse.
Preview: The mighty PEZ-Crew has landed on the soils of Europe to start the 2012 campaign – opening this weekend with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Saturday and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday. Ed and Dave are by now well into the pils and frites, while Jered hopes his bike is freed from customs in time for his own race on Sunday. Here’s a look at the Cobbles openers ‘proper’…
It’s that time - the Tour Down Under has been and gone, San Luis is nearly finished, we’re running out of six days (which means I get my life back!) and the Belgian ‘cross supporters are making sure that their scarves, coats and hats are looking pristine for Sunday. It's Cross Worlds time!
Every year, cyclocross gets bigger and bigger in North America, and it’s getting to become the cycling discipline that the “cool kids” do now, with nothing cooler than the Worlds coming to Louisville in 2013. However, there’s a place where cross is soaked deep into the mud like nowhere else, and that’s Belgium. And since I’m living in Belgium for a few months, let’s join the craziness shall we?
Roadside PEZ: Outside my window, it's wet, windy, and cold. For some reason, it makes me daydream of springtime in Flanders. Today, that brought a certain article to mind from a former resident and racer in the region. It was a homecoming tour for PEZ's Matt Conn in 2010 when he chased a Cancellara-dominated Ronde van Vlaanderen. Let's go back...
Part One:I have to start this by confessing: I love the Ronde van Vlaanderen more than any other race...times a million, squared. Sunday's trip around Flanders under the direction of Andy Deschuyffeleer was straight out of my one of my wildest dreams. I'll try to use words where they're available, but I remember the day most through the pictures Ashley and I shot from Brugge to the Bosberg.
Most of Saturday’s Flemish papers will have a 16 page pull out section – all of the kassein and hellingen (cobbles & hills) will be analysed as if for a military campaign; the form of every favourite examined by panels of experts, and past winners will be cross examined rather than interviewed. The ‘Ronde’ isn’t just a bike race; the population of Flanders is around six million; on Sunday the organisers expect 800,000 roadside – assuming that 50,000 are foreign spectators – that’s 12.5 % or one in eight of an entire nation standing beside the road to watch a sporting event.