On the 2nd of April it was that time of the year again. The Ronde Van Vlaanderen was here, and it was a mighty good one.
We at Endurance Stories decided to follow the women’s race, it was the first year that the women could be seen on live television, and we couldn’t be more happy to see women’s cycling growing.
We made our was to Oudenaarde at about 9AM and could visually see the difference between the mens start back in Antwerp. But that didn’t put a hold on the atmosphere we felt at the finish line. A feeling of excitement in the crowds, but also a hint of nervousness, when the riders lined up to start their long adventure over 12 Belgian climbs.
Something that caught our attention during the race, was the enormous amount of volunteers, putting their hands together to make this race as smooth as possible. At every single street corner, you could find a yellow jacket.
Whenever the women passed by you could feel the tention, and everytime we saw them pass by the faces we saw first changed. Who was it that said that women’s cycling wasn’t exciting?
But in the end there is just something about the ronde, that you don’t feel at other races. May it be the excitement of the people or the nerves of the riders. It gives a special vibe, an entire part of the country coming together, to watch men and women suffer on their local climbs, suffering on the cobbles and riding in the victory. When you drive around on, when the Ronde is on television, there is this quiet on the streets. Most Flemish people are sitting on their couch watching what is for them the most important race of the year on television.
And then the women’s race was finished, the riders had sprinted, we saw an American becoming the Championette for the first time in history. People walked away a little from the finish, nailing their eyes on the screen again, and patiently waiting until the men made their way over the finish line.
The remaining fans searched for contact with their favorite rider, whilst the team staff made everything ready to make their way back to the hotel.
It was a good one Flanders, thank you.