Here Stands a Man: Johan Van Summeren

Here Stands a Man: Johan Van Summeren

by / / 93 posts

Here stands a man. A quiet man. A hard working man. A Belgian man. A man from a life of grit, cold, and rain.

Here stands a man who has chosen a life of hard work and sacrifice; a hard life even within the context of Cycling. A man who spends long hours in the wind and in the rain, in the service of his team. A man who despite those long hours in the wind and in the rain, typically tastes victory only upon the tongue of others.

Here stands a man who even today, spent the day in the service of another. A man who’s loyalty lay elsewhere, for another man’s glory. But he is also a man who was given an opportunity. A man who more so than any other today, wanted that opportunity and grabbed hold with both hands, resolving only to let go if the very air within his lungs abandoned him.

Here stands a man who only required air in his lungs – not his tires – in order to reach the velodrome alone. A man who even as the air escaped his tire five kilometers from the finish refused to let up on the pedals.

Here stands a man who despite a half minute lead entering the final two kilometers had me biting my nails since the man chasing at 30 seconds happened to be the fastest man in the world, known for making the impossible possible. A man for whom my legs twitched in sympathy as he circled the velodrome and as I continued to wonder if a Swiss gentleman aboard a brommer wouldn’t appear out of nowhere to steal his glory.

Here stands a man who’s name is forever changed by the words, “Vainqueur de Paris-Roubaix.”

Here stands a man. A quiet man. A hard working man. A Belgian man. A man from a life of grit, cold, and rain. No other man stands today who better represents the wondrous power of this sport in general, and the magic of Paris-Roubaix in particular.

 

// Defining Moments // Racing // The Hardmen

  1. @Marko @sgt

    It seems like every generation thinks this about the next generation to come after them. Just imagine what the hard fucks who road the first Tour thought, when the younger folks in subsequent years didn’t have to stop and repair their own bikes. What a bunch of soft pansies!

    @Pedale.Forchetta

    Great pick, I miss seeing Felt bikes in the peloton.

  2. @mcsqueak
    Not to mention shifting.

  3. @Marko, @mcsqueak

    Not to mention shifting.

    Excellent point. It’s all part of what we call “progress”, but I’m dreading the inevitable loss of the the cable’s role in shifting…

  4. @frank
    Batteries. Who’da thunk?

  5. Couple of things:

    It wasn’t chain suck, saw a photo where they couldn’t get it up past the guard.

    Van Summeren definitely won the race, but Cancellara beat all the rest.

  6. Wow, it’s Tuesday and I’m still pumped up from watching the race. Still haven’t gotten through all the photos on cyclingnews yet either.

    Some of the crashes looked really bad. When Chavanel went out sliding (the 2nd crash on the day?)and was rolling on the road, ouch.

    Also, what are others thinking on JvS’s gal? Not bad, but is she pro-cyclist hotness? Maybe working man pro cyclist hot?

    Anyway, not to be too shallow. She is a good looking woman and congratulations to Johan for snagging her.

  7. @Ron
    She must be from near Luxemburg or Germany; she kept lapsing into German during her interview, which I’ve never heard a Belgian do before.

    (In Road to Paris, you can catch a glimpse of how conflicted Belgians are with language; a lady is being interviewed and she switches between English, Dutch, and French about 4 times per sentence.)

    Anyhow, for my money, I thought she was adorable and they seem happy, so that’s good enough for me. Perhaps the more notable feat was the 100 meter scratch-sprint she did in high heels across the center of the Velodrome?

  8. @Ron @frank

    Plus, it’s “true love” when a women is willing to look past your Belgian Toothpaste and give you a kiss. That counts for a LOT.

  9. @mcsqueak
    My guess is they would demonstrate their passion differently if they actually had to pay for the bike ;^)

  10. A fair amount of The V by Kurt Asle Arvesen! 20 km without a saddle at Paris-Roubaix
    http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza/videozone/MG_opvallend/1.1000639

  11. Just been watching some more P-R coverage. Full disclosure, I’m a Boonen fan. Even more so after this race. The pressure was on for him to do a good ride and everyone knew Cancellara was hot favorite. When he had his mechanical in the Arenberg and it took what must have seemed like hours to get a new bike as rider after rider whizzed by, he tried to fix the problem, then calmly waited for the team car. He had to know that his chances were slipping away as at the least he’d have a hell of a chase to get back on. You know the adrenaline has to be flowing like crazy in such situations. No histronics, no cursing, just pure professionalism. In contrast, here’s Hennie Kuiper puncturing near the end of P-R in 83 and getting (understandably) very anxious. (Note how he almost gets pushed into the back of a motorbike too!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjm3dQVzsaA&feature=related Classic stuff.

  12. @wiscot
    I was also amazed at how calm Boonen was. Wondering when you earn the title The Lion of Flanders; I don’t think it’s been passed onto him yet, but after three Paris-Roubaix’s, two Ronde’s, a Green Jersey, and a Worlds, you might think he deserves. Tough title.

    Anyhow, Kuiper’s situation was a bit different as he was actually in the lead, but yeah…interesting contrast. He actually says he was totally calm at the moment, but the pictures don’t convey that.

    By the way, when was the last time a rider won both Roubaix and the stage to Alpe d’Huez? A rider who can ride the stones and climb? Doesn’t seem to happen any more, eh?

  13. The photo of Boonen getting back going after the second crash, I think, is amazing. Photographers in his face, fans screaming at him, team support getting him going…

    I can’t imagine having that many people so close to me in the middle of such a hard race when your HR has to be very high. I’m not that calm off the bike!

  14. I just looked at JvS’s Garmin data for P-R. There is 4600 ft of climbing in that race!? WTF? C’est possible? I thought that was about as flat as a race can be.

  15. @Gianni
    Not sure how that is calculated? According to the interwebs, Compiegne is 31-134m elevation and Roubaix is 17-52m. So based on that it appears that one rides down from start to finish? So in answer to your question, fucked if I know how there is that much climbing? Tilt of the Earth? Very tall bloke on bike relative to ground distance between the two? Amount of Belgian toothpaste left in wake that other riders must climb?

    Perhaps another reason to remove the Garmin from your bike?

  16. @il ciclista medio
    4600 feet (1,380m) isn’t that much climbing over a course of 260-odd kms…

  17. @Marcus
    putting that it into perspective, I guess every little rise would add up then?

  18. Actually quite a bit of climbing, in all very small bits.

  19. Every cobble is a six inch climb, and six inch descent.

  20. @Marcus

    4600 feet (1,380m) isn’t that much climbing over a course of 260-odd kms…

    True, but it’s adding insult to injury. I would be most shagged out after that distance, riding surface and climbing. Thank god I’m not a pro. And to think I thought that was a flat race.
    I seem to remember Liege-Bastogne-Liege has an unreal amount of actual climbing over it’s distance…like 18,000′. Holy Shiet! I’ll research that.

  21. @Gianni
    as long as you look pro then your doing ok.

  22. @RedRanger
    That’s all I have…

  23. @Gianni

    You were certainly a pro looking directeur sportif on Frank’s volcano video!

  24. I’ll second that, mcsqueak! I’ll ride the volcano any day of the week if Gianni is my DS.

    packfiller – awesomeness! 6″ up, 6″ down.

    More generally I was thinking that this spring would be a good time to change all my cyclometers over to KMs. Anyone else made this switch? Or am I the only Velominati still riding in miles?

    At worst it’ll make group rides pretty damn interesting while trying to keep up and do math in my head. That is, until I train myself to think in kilometers.

  25. @Ron

    At worst it’ll make group rides pretty damn interesting while trying to keep up and do math in my head. That is, until I train myself to think in kilometers.

    There you go. That’s the ticket right there. Just worry about the key conversion, which are only relevant to non-Velominati: 32km is 20mi, 40km is 25mi, 50km is just over 30mi, 80km is 50mi, and 100km is 60mi. From there you just add and convert.

    Plus, it’s better for your morale to go 40km/h than it is to go 25mi/h.

  26. @Ron
    I made the switch this winter in pennance for past rule violations that seemed to be bogging me down with bad form and recommend it. I may not have gotten any faster, but I feel faster.

    Also, gratuitous pedantry, because if I don’t do it, someone else will: the singular of “Velominati” is “Velominatus.”

  27. @Ron
    I did it when I got Rule #74 compliant a couple months ago. Don’t worry about translating, you’ll get used to it.

    Besides, if you have the mental clarity to convert miles to km on the bike, apply Rule V until no you no longer care.

  28. @mcsqueak

    I have a rule (unlikely to be tested) that if a boyfriend of mine ever wins P-R, he gets a kiss. Seems fair, regardless of “toothpaste” used.

  29. Reviving an old thread to make an observation. I watched the ’08 P-R and the ’09 P-R DVD’s over the past two days while on the trainer and in both of those races, JVS was AMAZING. The guy KILLED it in ’08 for his teammate and then, in ’09, did it again doing SOOOOO much work for Leife Hoste, not to mention the other 4 guys in the break (Tomeke, Thor, Flecha, Pozzato) that if he had been riding for himself, in either of those races, he very well could have won one of those years as well as this last year. Eighth in ’08 and 5th in ’09, with all of the work he did, I’m surprised he was not given the freedom to ride in ’10 and ’11 outright. Dude was NOT an underdog, but he was awesome!

  30. Excellent points all, Buck. It’ll be interesting to see what JV does next year for the Queen now that Thor is leaving for BMC. I’d love to see JVS have another go, if for no other reason than he sports Belgian Toothpaste like no other.

  31. Dude did look fucked up at the end this year, eh?

    Man, I hope that they give him free rein with some support. He’s for real in my book.

  32. I was at that PR and saw Vansummern head into the Velodrome! Wow one of our local Limburg boys did it!  His GF/now wife was a champion swimmer at one point…

  33. Lets hope the poor spectator he hit at RVV 2014 is ok… Crazy place to stand, crazy place to try and manoevure on the bike…

  34. @VeloJello

    Lets hope the poor spectator he hit at RVV 2014 is ok… Crazy place to stand, crazy place to try and manoevure on the bike…

    I’ve watched the clip of the crash half a dozen times. For sure, not the best place to stand, but she was standing on the island when she got hit, suggesting that Vansummeren was riding into/onto the island. Was he unsighted because of traffic? I hope she’s ok, because that was a hell of a hit and she went down like a tree.

  35. @wiscot

    @VeloJello

    Lets hope the poor spectator he hit at RVV 2014 is ok… Crazy place to stand, crazy place to try and manoevure on the bike…

    I’ve watched the clip of the crash half a dozen times. For sure, not the best place to stand, but she was standing on the island when she got hit, suggesting that Vansummeren was riding into/onto the island. Was he unsighted because of traffic? I hope she’s ok, because that was a hell of a hit and she went down like a tree.

    Just read on cyclingnews that she is in critical condition in the ICU and they are reporting that she underwent brain surgery.  But, who knows what actually happened.  Not good anyway you look at it.

  36. Unbelievably dumb place to stand, in my view, but surely there should have been a marshal or clearer marking or signposting of street furniture more visible to those at the back of a group of riders.  Once riders started going both sides of the traffic island, I can imagine there would have been stuff all time to see it if behind a few other wheels.

  37. @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    @VeloJello

    Lets hope the poor spectator he hit at RVV 2014 is ok… Crazy place to stand, crazy place to try and manoevure on the bike…

    I’ve watched the clip of the crash half a dozen times. For sure, not the best place to stand, but she was standing on the island when she got hit, suggesting that Vansummeren was riding into/onto the island. Was he unsighted because of traffic? I hope she’s ok, because that was a hell of a hit and she went down like a tree.

    Just read on cyclingnews that she is in critical condition in the ICU and they are reporting that she underwent brain surgery. But, who knows what actually happened. Not good anyway you look at it.

    Not good at all. What’s really sad is that this seems to have been a genuine accident. There’s another clip I saw of the riders taking a sharp left-hand bend (Cofidis rider leading) and some twat jumps out into the road at the inside of the corner and jumps around. How no-one hit him, I’m not sure. That’s what makes the Vansummeren case so sad – the woman was in a bad place, but on a traffic island. She wasn’t in the road.

    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again, sooner or later a rider will be taken out by some cretin standing in the road/running across the road, and the outcome of a race will be severely impacted. As races such as PR, RVV etc get more popular, they attract more casual fans there for the “party atmosphere.” They don’t know or understand bike racing and completely fail (never having done it themselves) that these guys are riding at 30 mph. Fingers crossed that we have a”clean” PR on Sunday.

  38. @Buck Rogers  @andrew @Wiscot When you watch the video of the crash it’s hard to see how he would of come out of it well even without the spectators there. From what I can see it looks like that pedastrian crossing point has a fenced off or hedgerow’d island behind it which he would have crashed into anyway. Thoughts go out to the family of the lady, she was hit very, very hard.

  39. @andrew

    Unbelievably dumb place to stand, in my view, but surely there should have been a marshal or clearer marking or signposting of street furniture more visible to those at the back of a group of riders. Once riders started going both sides of the traffic island, I can imagine there would have been stuff all time to see it if behind a few other wheels.

    There were a lot of spots unmarshalled which could have done with a man with a flag…

  40. @wiscot

    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again, sooner or later a rider will be taken out by some cretin standing in the road/running across the road, and the outcome of a race will be severely impacted. As races such as PR, RVV etc get more popular, they attract more casual fans there for the “party atmosphere.” They don’t know or understand bike racing and completely fail (never having done it themselves) that these guys are riding at 30 mph. Fingers crossed that we have a”clean” PR on Sunday.

    I haven’t got it to hand but there was an interesting article in the current Rouleur about how badly out of control things had got with the fans at the Carrefour de l’Arbre. From memory, the local council/government cam close to not letting the race go through because of the mayhem the fans we causing, not only during the race but also in terms of rubbish, damage to crops etc.

  41. @andrew I suspect that spot didn’t get the usual flag waving marshal as it was straight after a roundabout and they may have expected the pack to stay spilt. A horrible oversight.

  42. @VeloJello @chris Yeah, sad and unfortunate all round, and no question JVS was going to be hurt as soon as he hit the curb.  I have the appalling feeling he’s better off having hit someone who broke his fall better than concrete would have, and can only hope the woman recovers OK.

  43. @Chris

    @andrew I suspect that spot didn’t get the usual flag waving marshal as it was straight after a roundabout and they may have expected the pack to stay spilt. A horrible oversight.

    I’ve often wondered how visible those flag wavers are to anyone bar those at the head of the peleton and thought that they should have bigger signs on poles that could be seen above the riders in front.  Though appreciate that the man waving a flag is cheaper/easier on route that is a rolling road closure as it “just” needs a few blokes on motorbikes.

  44. @Chris

    @wiscot

    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again, sooner or later a rider will be taken out by some cretin standing in the road/running across the road, and the outcome of a race will be severely impacted. As races such as PR, RVV etc get more popular, they attract more casual fans there for the “party atmosphere.” They don’t know or understand bike racing and completely fail (never having done it themselves) that these guys are riding at 30 mph. Fingers crossed that we have a”clean” PR on Sunday.

    I haven’t got it to hand but there was an interesting article in the current Rouleur about how badly out of control things had got with the fans at the Carrefour de l’Arbre. From memory, the local council/government cam close to not letting the race go through because of the mayhem the fans we causing, not only during the race but also in terms of rubbish, damage to crops etc.

    It’s the same thing on certain climbs in the tour etc. I’m no Pharmy fan but when they rode that TT up L’Alpe d’Huez, I was just waiting for someone to punch him and as much as I’m not a fan, he wouldn’t have deserved that. You lose a race because you don’t have what it takes (eg Boonen on Sunday – clearly ran out of gas at the end) not because some drunk takes you out.

    What makes our sport great is the proximity fans can get to the riders. However, that comes with a responsibility: you respect what you came to see and do not interfere. You don’t bring your dog – except on a very short leash. You don’t cross the road when there’s a rider remotely close to you. You obey the marshalls. You don’t get stupid drunk. You don’t show up in a stupid costume and try and get on TV – it’s not about you, it’s about the riders/race. They are doing their job – how would you like it if someone showed up shitfaced at your place of work and started messing with you?

  45. @wiscot

    you respect what you came to see and do not interfere. You don’t bring your dog – except on a very short leash. You don’t cross the road when there’s a rider remotely close to you. You obey the marshalls. You don’t get stupid drunk. You don’t show up in a stupid costume and try and get on TV – it’s not about you, it’s about the riders/race. They are doing their job – how would you like it if someone showed up shitfaced at your place of work and started messing with you?

    Absolutely, but you forget that our Supreme Leader has shown us the path and this is not it.

  46. @VeloJello

    @Buck Rogers @andrew @Wiscot When you watch the video of the crash it’s hard to see how he would of come out of it well even without the spectators there. From what I can see it looks like that pedastrian crossing point has a fenced off or hedgerow’d island behind it which he would have crashed into anyway. Thoughts go out to the family of the lady, she was hit very, very hard.

    Jesus.  Just saw the video.  What the FUCK???  Why/how was he jumping that curb anyways???  Was he totally pinched and had no where to go?  If he had not hit the woman he would have hit something else with that jump.  He was fucked as soon as he took that course (was forced onto that course???).  REALLY strange.  He gave an interview today (or yesterday) and said that he did not want to talk about it or explain what happened as he did not want to lay blame.  REALLY, really unfortunate accident.  Bizarre.

  47. @Buck Rogers

    Jesus. Just saw the video. What the FUCK??? Why/how was he jumping that curb anyways??? Was he totally pinched and had no where to go? If he had not hit the woman he would have hit something else with that jump. He was fucked as soon as he took that course (was forced onto that course???). REALLY strange. He gave an interview today (or yesterday) and said that he did not want to talk about it or explain what happened as he did not want to lay blame. REALLY, really unfortunate accident. Bizarre.

    Yes, very sad.  Watching the interview, he seemed genuinely crushed that the woman was injured. As for how:  In a race, when you take into account your pushed to the limit, following the wheel an inch in front, and then …..bang, an obstacle! You have to make a punch-drunk split second decision , often relying on instinct. Most times, the rider makes it through,  to fight another day. This time, terribly, the numbers caught up.

    I read that the belgian authorities are investigating to see if JVS or the race are at fault. I don’t see how JVS could be blamed. Once a fan crosses over the edge of the road, they are in the “field of play”.  As horrible as I feel for the state of that poor women, the race organizers can’t be responsible for marshalling off all 270km of the course.  It’s a sad event that took place, certainly, but no one’s fault.

  48. Seems a bit harsh to blame either rider or spectator from the poor video I saw. God knows he couldn’t have wanted to be on that line.

    I didn’t even think it looked like *too* bad a place to stand, well, not in terms of affecting the race at least (think there was a fence or hedge behind her so no way through anyway)? Looked like he’d already hit the kerb and was going over by then anyway? I guess from a personal safety point of view it wasn’t the best.

    It seems a real shame though when there are genuine idiots running in the road or standing places where it really will affect the race. Who was it who got taken out by someone’s coat/bag? (and then the spectator seemed to sheepishly slip off and let someone else deal with it)

  49. @Rhodri ,

    @fignons barber

    I’d have to say those people were crazy to be standing out there. At one point, the peloton had split and riders were going on both sides of that “island”. That is no place to spectate from, back from the edge of the road or behind the barriers is pretty safe, not out there, in traffic.

  50. I wonder if she wasn’t simply a very slow old woman, and became trapped on that island by the pre-peloton entourage. Cars and motorcycles streaming by to either side….grim.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar