The score may have been Dunfermline 1 Queen of the South 2 at East End Park, the other night, but in Flanders just now it’s Guy 24, Mario 22. That’s Guy Smet on 24 wins and recent VeloVeritas interviewee Mario Willems on 22.

Smet is big man, he wins on his own, making the splits ’til there’s no one left to get rid of – a few years ago we checked his cassette after a race; the film of chain lube was still pristine on all cogs from the 14 up.

Mario is smaller and chunkier; an aggressive rider too, but not frightened of a sprint.

Guy Smet
Guy Smet follows Mario Willems. Photo©Foto Coghe

Mario Willems best year was 2005 on 27, that looks achievable; Big Guy ? 40 in 2004, but even that pales into insignificance compared to Benjamin Van Itterbeeck’s 60 in 1996.

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Talking about winners; great to see Russ Downing taking the stage and the GC in the Tour of Ireland – surely it can’t be true that they’ve taken his name off the GB Worlds list and told him there’s no chance of his going to Sky?

Guy Smet
Russ Downing has earned his chance with Sky as one of the top guys in the UK. Photo©Martin Williamson

Did they forget he was Britains only finisher at the Worlds, last year?