Author Archive | frank

GvA's race goes tits up

Velominati Super Prestige: Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian 2017

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This week we are currently in is the most boring week of the year. After three weeks of non-stop Tour de France coverage, we slip, without any warning whatsoever, back into the doldrums of loving a sport that doesn’t get any television coverage. When, on Saturday morning, I tune into San Sebastian, it will be…

The road unknown. Photo via Szymonbike

Route Finding

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I have memories of my life before Cycling, but as the years wear slowly on my mind their edges become less pronounced, like water wearing away at a sharp stone. My memories of Cycling, which start at the age of eight, remain somehow vivid. As Pedalwan learner to my father, one of the many arts…

Favorites ascending. Photo: Gruber Images.

Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2017

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As many of you know, I write a monthly column for Cyclist Magazine where I answer Dear Abby-esque questions, and the most recent query pertained to whether I consider the Tour the best race of the year, or whether it’s an over-publicized circus. The question made me realize something about myself: I have a weariness…

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Weekend Competition: The Hardmen

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As I said last week when we announced the new book, The Hardmen, we had a much harder time of it writing this one than we did with The Rules. There are a variety of reasons why this is true, not least the fact that we had to actually choose which Hardmen to include in the book,…

Boonen in his final Paris-Roubaix

The Color White

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I saw the Black Crowes in concert some years ago, and as the band swung into their first number, Chris Robinson casually strolled onstage wearing head to toe white sequins. Later in the show, he remarked that nothing quite makes you feel like a virgin like wearing white. The color white is indeed a bold statement.…

The Hardmen: Cover Art.

The Hardmen: Legends of the Cycling Gods

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Today’s a big deal over here at VHQ; V-Pints are being clinked and backs are being slapped in celebration of our second book, The Hardmen, being released in the UK and Commonwealth countries today, June 1. (It is due out in the United States in the Fall as well as The Netherlands and Belgium in Spring…

Sure, turn that thing upside down. (I said it ironically, so it's not bad luck.)

On Rule #49: Keep the Rubber Side Down

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Gobbles already violated Rule #95 this year when he became the first rider to celebrate winning a Monument by lifting his bike over his head as if he were some kind of savage; not a Belgian road Cyclist, the most civilized of the Cycling Breed. But Rule #49 is another matter altogether. It astounds me whenever I see…

Vincenzo Nibali won the Giro going downhill.

Velominati Super Prestige: Giro d’Italia 2017

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I spy with my little eye a certain Michele Scarponi, who sadly lost his life while out training near his home two weeks ago, in there amongst his teammates after his captain, Nibbles, won the race. I’m torn about a death like Michele’s – we subject ourselves to similar risks every time we climb aboard our bikes…

There was a time when this is what Cycling looked like.

Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Liege-Bastogne Liege 2017

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This guy. This fucking Valverde guy. How can you make it look so easy? Dan Martin was right to look like a little bitch on the podium, because that’s exactly what Valvecap made of him: his little bitch. What kills me about him is he looks totally awesome, but I can’t find myself liking him.…

The closest we can come to a Ladies LBL photo

Velominati Super Prestige: Womens Liege-Bastogne Liege 2017

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The Ardennes Triple is something that hasn’t been won very often by male riders, and no woman has ever accomplished it. Mostly because until this year, it hasn’t existed. While Amstel Gold and La Fleche both held Women’s events, Liege has only just got on the program. (We are waiting for you, Milan Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix and…

Who doesn't like a nice little uphill sprint?

Velominati Super Prestige: Women’s La Fleche Wallonne 2017

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Some years ago, halfway across Belgium from Huy, a farmer grew jealous of his neighbor, whose fields were bisected by the brutally famous cobbled climb, the Koppenberg. Refusing to be outdone by chance, nature, topography, and certainly not his neighbor, he built his own cobbled climb through one of his fields, giving birth to the…

Energizer Bunny: Valverde

Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s La Fleche Wallonne 2017

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Valverde is one of those guys who seems to never suck. And he looks great on a bike; he doesn’t spin too much, he doesn’t grind too much. He likes to stomp a big gear uphill in the drops, 90’s-style, when the mood strikes. What’s not to like? I’m not sure, but I can’t find myself liking…

The first real race of the Ardennes classics

Velominati Super Prestige: Mens Amstel Gold Race 2017

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I spent my formative years growing up in the United States, hearing from all my Dutch and German relatives how crap American beer is and how fantastic Dutch and German brews are, respectively. By the time I started drinking it myself, the micro brew scene in the US had flourished and was giving the European…

Into the Ardennes we go

Velominati Super Prestige: Womens Amstel Gold Race 2017

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It’s funny how national borders seem to disappear when it comes to bike racing. The Netherlands and Belgium have had a long-lasting sibling rivalry, and I’m sure Belgium has held a similar rivalry with France. Yet when it comes to the Classics, it seems Belgium happily lays claim to the northern bit of France as well as…

4x Roubaix. Can the record be beaten?

Velominati Super Prestige: Paris-Roubaix 2017

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I was called a Boonen sycophant today by one of my editors, which didn’t feel as good as it sounds. But the fact is, I am. And the fact is also that I’m not ashamed of being such. It certainly feels cleaner than my Dirty Schlecky love from a few years ago. Last year’s Boonen heartbreak (I’m…

Lizziemonster takes the win over Emma Johansson, a Swede wearing a Flanders helmet.

Velominati Super Prestige: Women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen 2017

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A year ago, you’d have gotten strange looks if you picked anyone other than Lizzie Deignen (Armistead) for the win. This year is another story and I quite frankly (Frahnkly) can’t pick a favorite, although Lizzie is sure to feature. But getting married apparently doesn’t do much for your racing campaign; just ask Miguel Indurain,…

Boom boom shake the room!

Velominati Super Prestige: Gent Wevelgem 2017

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Well shit. Our new book, The Hardmen, which is due to go to print any day now, has us so tangled up we forgot there’s a racing season going on with, well, hardmen! I’ll keep this brief: get the picks in and hurry, because the window will be very small!

Dare we be so bold as to hope for Rule #9?

Velominati Super Prestige: Milano Sanremo 2017

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Well, that didn’t go as expected. It was over a month ago the last time I wrote an article and every day since then, I’ve thought a thought something along the lines of, “Tomorrow, I write.” The funny thing about Tomorrow is that it never comes. My favorite band, Big Head Todd and the Monsters,…

René Privat wears yellow as Master Jacques reads a newspaper and tries not to notice.

Youth

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I’ve never been afraid of imitating my heroes, they always seemed like the best examples available and as a student of life (as every child is) it seemed normal to me to copy every aspect of their lives that I had visibility into. I copied my dad’s handwriting as I was learning to write just as I…

This is what tired feels like.

Dead Tired

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Before I make this about me, as I always do, I want to give credit to Roberto Ballini, who is pictured here sunning himself against nothing less morbid than a gravestone during the 1971 Tour de France, presumably in protest to how much of a shitshow The Prophet was making of the race. But let’s…

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