Het Begint!

I’ll never forget the day. Spring 1995. Driving south on route 309 having just left the local Performance Bicycle, the only place near me that sold Velonews. This was still the time when Velonews read more like a newspaper than a magazine. Big sheets of newsprint; ink marks on your fingers. Pearl Jam blaring from my Sony Discman, I looked over to quickly scan the cover. “Ballerini Wins Het Volk.” The headline might have been something different; it probably made mention of “the North” or used a pun to indicate the weather or the terrain. But the gist was the same. Ballerini and Edwig Van Hooydonck graced the cover, riding for Mapei-GB and Novell respectively. Their names alone invoke the passion of all riders from these two great cycling nations. Edwig, the Boss of the Bosberg, was nearing the end of a brilliant career. Franco, a classics king about to be crowned, was nearing the zenith of his. He would win his first Roubaix later that spring.

Needless to say, I was hooked. It was the beginning of what would soon become my favorite part of the season. How fitting to start another new endeavor at this time.

Come back later for some thoughts on this weekend’s events.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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