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On the scene at De Ronde Van Vlaanderen

Greetings from the Podium Cafe Belgian headquarters in Ronse! This photo, taken by Megabeth, shows PdC computer central (aka, the dining room), complete with a jetlagged Chris asleep at his terminal.

PdC Belgium headquarters

Early arrivals Will, Drew, and Jens rode the Ronde sportive on Saturday, and then on Sunday, most of our group took the free shuttle from Ronse to the Paterberg. Chris and I drove to Oudenaarde to pick up press credentials, thinking there would be a press shuttle to the Paterberg, but no such luck. So, we drove to a spot about three miles from the Paterberg and started walking. We ended up parking near an earlier climb on the course, the Kortekeer, so we detoured over there and watched the peloton pass by before heading on to the Paterberg.

Boonen and other Steppers at the front of the bunch on the Kortekeer

We got to the Paterberg in time to see the first round of the climb with 51k to go to the finish.

Phillippe Gilbert, already out front on his own on the first pass up the Paterberg
Gilbert on the Paterberg
Tommeke, Tommeke, Tommeke!
Luke Rowe at the rear of a group on the Paterberg

With about an hour to wait until the second pass up the Paterberg, we had time to hit the frites and beer stand.

Frites and beer on the Paterberg!

For the second climb of the Paterberg, just 13k from the finish, I moved up to a spot near the top of the hill for a different vantage point.

Gilbert at the top of the Paterberg
Gilbert and fans on the Paterberg
Dylan Van Baarle, with Van Avermaet coming up behind him
Van Avermaet and Terpstra
Pippo, Sonny Colbrelli, and Sylvain Chavanel
Kristoff and Degenkolb
Andre Greipel and Alberto Bettiol
Arnaud Demare
A dusty and disappointed Peter Sagan

That’s all for now, Ciao from Ronse!