This was our view from the Muur today. Thanks to Celerity and Omnevilnihil for staking out a spot on the horrid ramp just before the turn past the Chapel, as it turned out to be pretty much the precise place where Cancellara accelerated away FTW. On a day marked initially by scaling back expectations -- no start in Bruges, no dash to Ninove, no time to grab waiting press creds (for whatever that would have been worth) -- we determined that the only way to be sure we wouldn't screw this day up was to make a beeline for the Muur. It was pure luck that, for the first time in three years, the race was won on these iconic slopes.
More writeup to follow, but we had an amazing day. I spent some time interviewing fans from various places for a future post. The ten of us continued our running meetup and soaked in the greatest race atmosphere I know of. I can finally verify that any one who loves racing should put an afternoon at the Muur on their life calendar.
Between the lot of us we literally have a thousand pictures, but I will put up a few, on the flip...
Some early scenes... the meetup:
Shortly before Mathieu G hung his Quebec/Rollin flag. Very classy, actually.
The summit scene. Oh, and there were lots of these:
Yep, nuthin but antioxidents when I get home. To warm up the crowd, we were treated to the Women's RVV, but that needs its own presentation. While waiting for the men, we got to see the one and only Eddy Merckx riding the Muur:
The Cannibal was riding strongly, although he squandered his 15 minute lead, in part by climbing the Muur three times. Anyway, time for the main event:
Boonen leading the charge at this point, though by the top of the ramp the story of this race will be changed irrevocably. We will do fuller photostreams on the Flickr site as the week progresses. For now here are a few of my favorites:
Like I said, this is but a sample. Afterwards, Jackie Treehorn brought us beers. Good day, eh?
photos by Chris Fontecchio for the Podium Cafe