Viktor has barred us from attending any races which are patronised by Graham Baxter Tours, this means that the Tour of Flanders is out. The next-best thing therefore, is the KBC Driedaagse van De Panne – Koksijde 2007.
It covers many of the roads that Flanders does, the ‘Flanders fever’ is in full flow but the security is non-existent so you can skek bikes and annoy mechanics to your heart’s content.
Ryanair dumped us in Charleroi right on time; Ford Fiesta to Ghent; dump the bags at the hotel then head for the coast. Evan Oliphant has organised us interviews with Nico Mattan and Eric Vanderaerden.
Once again I was reminded of the importance of patience as one of the key qualities for being a journalist; you have to wait for credentials and wait for interviews – but eventually we got our men, albeit late in the day.
Nico was cool, Eric wasn’t as laid-back as Nico, but he gave us some good answers nonetheless. Eric is still slim but is as good a chain smoker as he was a rider.
Back to Ghent, the old haunts are the best; “The Viadukt”, “Pour Que Non?”, “Pharoahs”, and into a coma at 03.00 am.