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Race Report: Ronde van Vlaanderen & Paris-Roubaix

Unfortunately, I was unable to go last year when many of the PdC crew went to see these races.  But I got to go this year.  Below the jump are some of the videos/pictures I took.

Ronde van Vlaanderen

I got up early on April 3 to go to Brugge to watch the start of the Ronde.  However, I evidently did not get up early enough as the place was already packed and I got nowhere near where the riders started (I was at the opposite end of the Grote Markt).  I did however, get a good view along where some of the riders were warming up.  I got pictures on Boonen:

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and Hushovd:

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which was pretty cool.  

I then went to the Nokereberg (the 2nd hill) thinking, well, it's a minor hill, but its cobbled, so maybe I'll go and give it a look there.  I was not the only one, however, and I found myself behind a pack of tall Flandrians.  So I saw nothing.  My camera did, but, frankly, the video isn't all that good.  My advice for anyone attempting to do this is: don't do this.  Best to go straight to Geraardsbergen and find a good spot on the Muur, which is what I proceeded to do.

First, the women came by.  Here's the winner, Annamiek Van Vleuten, going by (sorry for not embedding the videos, it doesn't seem to be working for me for some reason; something about only Youtube videos being capable of being imported, which seems strange since these are all Youtube videos... Perhaps one of the editors can fix it?):

 

I saw Eddy Merckx go by (twice) but didn't have the camera ready either time.

I did have it ready for the race leaders, however: but didn Nice thing about watching the Ronde in Geraardsbergen is, after the riders go by, you can go down to watch the race on the big screen in town there, which I did.

Paris-Roubaix

I did the Trouee-Carrefour double.  Someone posted about not finding spots on the barriers even after arriving at the Trouee 3 hours before the riders went by.  Not my experience.  I think you'd have been fine arriving an hour before.

First, the leaders:

then the pack:

Looking back at it, though, I think I would have preferred to be further in, past the barriers.  Though, they had a big TV screen set up (which you can see in the above videos), so I saw Boonen's disaster on that, even though it must have happened considerably further along the Trouee.  I'm not sure how that might have affected getting to the Carrefour, but I made it in plenty of time, so I think it'd still be possible.

Speaking of the Carrefour, first came Van Summerin, Tjallingi, Rast, and a rider whose identity I'm not sure of (Bak, perhaps?):

As you can tell, I was unaware of the race situation at the time: all I saw was the Garmin-Cervelo jersey and I assumed it had to be Haussler or Farrar (since it obviously couldn't have been Hushovd).  When I looked at the video and saw the number, I realized it was neither, but didn't know who it was until I found a guy watching on his Ipad (or similar device) and discovered it was Van Summerin by watching over his shoulder (not too obtrusively, I hope).

Next came Cancellara & crew:

One thing I thought interesting is that Van Summerin and Tjallingi both rode down the middle of the cobbles at Carrefour de l'Arbre while everyone else was at the side.  Anyone have any ideas why Van Summerin and Tjallingi wouldn't also ride on the sides?

Anyway, it was a great time.  Though, I have to say, while seeing P-R was cool, it wasn't really as cool a time as the Muur.  I had not really apprehended the full magnitude of the atmosphere at the Muur during the Ronde van Vlaanderen.  Since I can't really express it in words, I think you should definitely plan on going next year so you can experience it firsthand.

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