As some of you may know, I was born and raised in Brakel. My parents have always lived (and still live) on the Valkenberg. Every year on the day of the Ronde, the entire family gathers there for a good meal and a first row view on the race.
Here's what I saw.
The day started with a nice aperitif (white St Raphael) at the table where my mother used to change my diapers some thirty years ago. After a few drinks, we went outside to watch the women. Some Devolder-tifosi were waiting outside of the pub across the street. Despite the early hour, they were already pretty p*ssed. Notice the guy with the lion cape and his friend with the horn. They could barely stay upright.
A few minutes later, the female peloton arrived. Thanks to Sarah I immediately recognised Evie Stevens on the first row of the peloton and I yelled her name. 'Go Eeeeevieeeee!'.
I thought this was the entire peloton, but to my surprise there was a group of 20 riders more than one minute behind. I quickly took a picture.
Turns out I should have taken a shot of the back of this group, because Emma Johansson was there, struggeling to keep up with this group. I'd never thought she'd see the front of the race again.
After the women, it was time for luch (Mechelse Koekoek in a mediterranian sauce with young potatoes and a lovely Fronsac). We had to eat quickly, because the men's race was approaching quickly. After finishing my plate, I sprinted outside and managed to get a great spot. Here's my view on the bottom of the hill:
and the top:
When the red flag arrived (see opening picture), I decided to film instead of taking pictures. Notice the little girl in the blue shirt right in front of me, that's my godchild. The rest of my family is standing there too.
You can hear me cheeering for riders and some DS's. It's a shame you can only hear me, because everybody was going crazy. I've never heard such a small crowd making so much noise! Sorry for my accent, I happen to use my Broakels dialect whenever I'm in the area.
Here's what I saw, enjoy!
Pictures and video by me under the UEIULE-license (use 'em if you like 'em)