This weekend, I went to Koksijde. They had a big bike race. There were lots of people, lots of alcoholic beverages, and not enough portaloos. I cheered my heart out along with tgsgirl (who didn't bring ANY of the Leffes she owes me), Sarah, Bingo Little and UrlaubinPolen and while it was rather hard to get close enough to anything in the midst of 60,000 people, I did take a few snaps. Enjoy!
The crowds were massive, even for the junior race
SAND. Enough said.
Waiting on the dune for the juniors to start. I felt so nervous for them...imagine what it must feel like to wait on the start line at an event like this?!
Some enthusiastic Dutch-Bavarians (?!) decorated an entire house on the course
The Swiss were highly enthusiastic and all looked the part
Safety Joggers! Actual, normally sized ones!
The champion in waiting made sure he inspected all possible lines up this hill during the official training on Saturday. He was very relaxed, laughing with the fans when he made a bit of a hash of it. As he was to show a day later, practice makes perfect.
Styby blasts up the same hill
Egoitz Murgoitio trains. He turned round and grinned when we shouted AUPA! Unfortunately for him and for his many travelling Basque fans, his Sunday became a nightmare as he touched wheels and crashed on the start line. This made me very sad.
Lars van der Haar on lap one, chased by Wietse Bosmans. They would finish in this order. I cheered myself hoarse for the Dutchman, much to the chagrin of the Belgians who surrounded me on every side. Great fun! The last lap was electric, one of the most exciting things I've seen in a long long time.
Arnaud Grand reaches for support
Gianni Vermeersch puts his best foot forward
Almost a nasty moment for Elia Silvestri
The U23 podium, with heads in the way. I'm too short!
Supporters of the Basque Hirumet team
Stybar talks to the media pre-race
Ready to cheer! This photo won me a 'Stybar related prize' in the Omega Pharma Quick Step fan photo competition. I simply cannot wait to see what comes through my letterbox!
Many people! We watched the elite men's race from here or hereabouts, with a view across the pit area and the straights around it, and with a big screen to the right.
This was as close as we could get to the podium. Madness!
While we're at it, a few more photos of my trip, because you all love Belgium, no? On Friday night we went to the Light Festival in Gent with local boy broerie. Very impressive!
A mightily chilly Oudenaarde
Some Cafe people may recognise this. I'd forgotten quite how strong it was. Oh dear!
And finally, a mystery. Why, for the love of cobbles, would a Belgian bar serve Carlsberg?!