Imagine a world without the little things we take for granted; a house without a roof, a pub with no beer, a Keepers Tour without any clothes. The last one is a reality for me at the moment, five days in and still no trace of where the hell between Wellington and Paris my bag (filled with V-Kit, shoes, helmet, everything) is. The other thing that has me perturbed again this trip is that there is no Muur de Grammont/Kapelmuur in the Ronde. To me, the race feels naked without it.
That won’t stop us from riding it next weekend though, and although there will be no crowds, no pros, there will still be the magical spirit of the great battles past on these hallowed stones. We’ll try and emulate The Lion and climb it in the big ring (or the 50t) while the man himself watches on, probably laughing inside, or indeed outwardly, as we succumb to the gradient and stab frantically at the left-hand shifter. Then we’ll realise just how ordinary we are and how special this hill is.
Even though the Muur is absent again this year, the 2013 Ronde is shaping up as one of the best in recent history. The battle between Faboo and Sags is well touted, but will they mark each other out of it and let an opportunist take their chance? My money’s on that scenario playing out, but if you have any sense you’ll see my VSP scores reflect a total lack of tipping nous so far this season and reject anything I predict as hogwash.
Check out the start list, grab a cold Malteni or other fine Belgian ale, slather your frites in mayo and keep your eye out for the V-Flag on the Oude Kwaremont this Sunday. Goed geluk!