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Norrie Drummond – A Hard Man in Belgium

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It’s just under two weeks now until the 2007 European season starts with the GP d’Ouverture La Marseillaise in the south of France on February 6th. The first major tests come a few weeks later though, on the first weekend in March, far from the Mediterranean, to the north, in Flanders.

Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne are true classics in all but UCI category, albeit shorter than the Tour of Flanders with which they share many kilometres of parcours.

There’s an amateur version of Het Volk, currently it’s usually held the day before the Belgian elite championships on the last weekend of globally-warmed June. In the ‘old days’ however it was held on the same weekend as the pro race, either the last weekend in February or the first weekend in March.

Twice in recent years Het Volk has fallen victim to snow – these are very much races for the ‘hard-men’. The coming edition will be 62nd Het Volk; it’s also the 50th anniversary of a young Scotsman called Norrie Drummond signing-on for Het Volk and Kuurne.

The bookmaker from Strathaven is perhaps best known as the deep-pocketed-patron of the now-classic Drummond Trophy race, held every spring in the town. However, back in 1957 he was a young amateur cyclist who had been reading those French magazines of the day with their sepia photographs of a glamorous and exciting world.