Wednesday, October 27, 2021
HomeDiariesGent-Gent & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2009 - Day 1

Gent-Gent & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2009 – Day 1


We’re in the heartland for Gent-Gent… His long torso arches, like that of a tiger about to pounce on it’s prey; elbows out, the black Specialized with it’s hugely over-sized down tube – necessary to absorb the mega wattages this beast produces – surges forward.

Old war horse Jeremy Hunt is driving hard for the line but the big cat in blue and white has too much momentum – his hands stretch high and a look of joy spreads across his face as he trips the photo finish.

Tom Boonen at his best has saved our weekend.

Thor Hushovd is a quality rider, but a Norwegian win in Gent-Gent?

It was Friday lunch time when the pilgrimage began.

Elvis entered this building.

Prestwick, and I always pay homage to ‘The King,’ Elvis touched down here briefly – his only contact with British soil and there’s a star in the floor to commemorate the occasion. Ryanair, Charleroi, a Ford Focus; Dave’s driving so I can tap away on the BlackBerry.

It’s not really the same this year, Viktor isn’t here – even Het Volk is too glamorous for him now.  He’ll be over next year though, but I’ve had to agree to us leaving on Tuesday so as we can go and see the teams training on the parcours on the Wednesday; then two days of solid bike shop scouring.

Dave and Callum looking forward to this…

Callum McGregor is with us, despite a long road and track career in Scotland, he’s never seen a real big Belgian race before.

The first job is to visit the Holiday Inn at Gent and bug the mechanics. Francaise des Jeux, AG2R, Cofidis, Elk House and Rabobank are all installed here.

Dirty bikes in need of some tlc.

F des J stay faithful to Lapierre and they’ve stuck to white – it’s ‘this year’s colour.’

The guys have been out training and the mechanics have a thick layer of grime to deal with before they get down to checking the bikes and fitting clean tape.

Wes Sulzberger is here for the French team; brother Bernie won the Aussie criterium champs over the winter and I had a chat with him about it.

At least one of the squad is on Shimano electronic – it’s been around a few years now, but testing goes on.

Cofidis Looks.

Cofidis are aboard lovely white Looks, a change from Time – they always get the graphics just right.

A wash-and-brush-up for AG2R’s BH’s.

At AG2R it’s BH – white, naturally and as far as I’m aware, Giants by any other name.

That’s a famous name.

Elk House ride black Fujis with one of them having a famous name on the top tube – ‘Thurau,’ yup, Didi’s son.

Rabobank Giants. Nice.

Perhaps the biggest change is over at Rabobank where the long alliance with Colnago has ended; Giants are the choice now. And pretty cool they look, too. All white, with mostly blue decals and just a flash of orange – nice!

Over at the Holiday Inn Expo there was only one team to skek; Silence-Lotto. Ridley and Robbie McEwen have defected to Katyusha, taking ace mechanic Bart Leysens with them.

Gilbert’s Canyon.

White Canyons are the tools now, super light carbon from Germany – the ill fated Unibet team used to ride them. I’m not crazy about the decals, but they are very highly rated bikes; light and rigid – Charly Wegelius says it’s the stiffest bike he’s ever ridden.

Electronic shifting has come of age.

Eleven on the Canyons.

Somewhat ‘robust’ solutions here.

There were three favourites machines being worked on; Van Avermaet, Hoste and Gilbert – in the end, none would achieve a result, albeit Gilbert and Hoste performed with honour.

As the light started to fade we headed for the digs; an omelette; then a beer or two at “de Karper” – Iljo Keisse’s father, Ronnie’s bar.

Long term six day and Flemish racing fans, John Young and Stuart Anthony joined us, as did Dirk van Hove, a man who knows just everything about Belgian cycling.

Stuart knows Ronnie Keisse well, from his many visits to the Gent Six Day – he was explaining that Iljo has a good defence team to bat for him with his current ‘positif’ woes.

Don’t ask me how, but they think that they’ll manage to keep his suspension limited to six months.

If the usual two years applies, then forget good attendances at the Gent six for the next two years.

The papers are full of a Quickstep / Lotto battle tomorrow.

Going to bed the night before Het Volk is like being a kid on the night before Xmas – only with Pils and a weaker bladder.

One nocturnal trip was enough though; ‘Het Volk tomorrow, wow!’

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Omloop Het Volk & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne – Day 1

You know you're in Belgium at the Kuurne Brussels Kuurne when the barman is Iljo Keisse's dad - and when there are posters for bike races in the loo! But I'm getting ahead of myself; "live cargo", that's how the airlines refer to their passengers. And that's how we feel: the flight is two hours late and we're sitting on the floor at Prestwick Airport, or 'Glasgow South' as Ryanair would have it, despite the fact that we're 50 kilometres from the city on the Clyde.

Scrapbook: Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2017

Ghent, or rather ‘Gent’ we love it; the bars, the people and the fact you can walk into a filling station and there are six quality cycling magazines on the shelf to chose from, and you have to love a city where they have taps to discharge the rainwater. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the first real races of the year – Down Under, the Desert races, Langkawi? Come on!

Gent-Gent & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne – Day 3

Another beautiful day; I like the drive to Kuurne Brussels Kuurne, if the weather is nice. The fields, the canals, the rows of poplars, the old brick farm houses, counter posed by flat roof modernist houses. The routine is well rehearsed at Kuurne - check the 'B' team car park at the sports centre, then up to the 'A' team car park at the start...

Rudy Pevenage – “They should have sent half of the peloton home”

Rudy Pevenage was the man behind Jan Ulrich and guided him to a Tour de France win and many other successes, but let's not forget he was a top rider in his own Pro career. Not much has been heard of the man from Moerbeke recently, so we looked him up on one of our visits to Belgium for the Omloop...

Omloop Het Volk & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2008 – Day 2

Getting to Flanders yesterday for the kuurne Brussels Kuurne was painful - a two hour delay at Prestwick, then a battle through the rush hour traffic on the Brussels ring road. Dave and I are getting good at indiscriminate lane changing and not indicating, but we really have to brush up on our tail-gating technique if we want to drive in the authentic Belgian fashion.

Bob Jungels Solos Victorious in Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2019

Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne UCI 1.1 HC is the bridesmaid to Het Nieuwsblad’s UCI WT bride but it’s a race with a long history dating back to 1946 and has some interesting winners including Roger De Vlaeminck, Patrick Sercu, Johan Museeuw, George Hincapie, Cav – and a certain Patrick Lefevere in 1978.

At Random

The VV View: Sky, Wiggins and the TUE Grey Area

TUE's - once again I'm reminded of Elton John's words; 'and all this science I don't understand...' The forums are ablaze with righteous indignation from carpet fitters and bike shop mechanics, all of whom are well versed in conditions which affect an athlete's breathing and the treatment of any ailments related thereto. Me? I'm a glazier originally and I can't remember Prednisolone ever cropping up once during my 'apprenticeship.'

Introducing the James McKay Blog

Hello and welcome to the new James McKay Blog! Over the past three years I balanced the life of a university student and bike racer, albeit unequally! But after graduating last summer, I decided to take 2019 as a year to solely pursue my cycling obsession and race for a team full-time. I had my degree now, and with my 22nd birthday on the horizon, time is ticking on my cycling career.

Musselburgh RC 3-Up Time Trial 2007

The Sandy Wallace Cycles team of Alan Dow, Ian Black and Joe Wilson put half a minute into the boys from Aberdeen in the shape of the Granite City RT to take the honours in the Musselburgh RC 3-Up Time Trial.

Jack Bauer – He’s Why We Love This Sport!

It was a Saturday night in the summer of 2009 and I was driving ‘up the Town’ to the movies. I pulled the car over, answered the mobile and had my first chat with the man. VeloVeritas's pundit in residence Viktor had spotted this New Zealand laddie who was burning up the Flanders kermis scene in the colours of Anglo/Belgian team, Kingsnorth Wheelers – Jack Bauer.

Le Tour de France 2012 – First Rest Day

Bonjour! VeloVeritas joins le Tour. The hotel is the Formule 1, Viry, with a wonderful view of a pile of tyres – it’s a glamorous life. But we’re not complaining. Easyjet, Edinburgh to Geneva wasn’t too bad, finding the car hire was a bit of a magical mystery tour but we were soon headed for Mâcon, our credentials and the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank hotel.

Kicking Off – Dale McCallum

Hi, my name is Dale McCallum and I'm 17 years old. This season I will be riding for The BicycleWorks Under 25 Race Team. I have been cycling for just over two years now and I got into the sport through my dad, Scott. He rides unattached as he doesn't race because he likes to come and watch me and the team race.