Lee Rodgers’ 2014 European Adventure [Part 2 of 2]
Photos by Lee Rodgers
First up, the Tour of Flanders.
I got access to the VIP area before the race which meant that I could walk around all the team buses and watch as the riders prepared for one of the hardest bike races in the world.
I managed to catch a glimpse of Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France Champion and Olympic time trial champion, and other stars like Tom Boonen and Peter Sagan.
However it wasn’t the stars that were the main attraction for me, but the crowd itself. Cycling in Belgium is like baseball in America, whole families come to watch, and the big riders are the heroes for many young boys. There was an excitement and tension in the VIP area that was incredible, and it was great to see so many people excited about a simple bike race.
Sir Bradley Wiggins gets ready for Flanders
Young and old alike come to watch the professionals race at the Tour of Flanders
The race itself was a classic, really great to watch from the roadside, where thousands of people lined the course for hundreds of kilometers. In the end, Fabian Cancellara won the race by a sprint.
The next week was spent riding, eating and drinking! Belgian beer, for those that don’t know, is not only very delicious but also very strong, sometimes as high as 12% alcohol. Three of these beers and you’re knocked out! It’s a very good way to be sure you get a good night’s sleep, however…
The following Sunday I headed to Paris-Roubaix, to stand by the road to watch the race. The atmosphere was electric, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. People hung from trees with flags, they waited for hours to catch a glimpse of the great race.
Some fans entertained the crowds as we waited for the race to arrive
And then it came, and it was like a typhoon arriving. The helicopters buzzed overhead, the officials’ cars flew past ahead, and then the riders arrived.
The cobbles are so big and dangerous that the riders must concentrate 100% or thy will crash. Many bones have been broken on these roads, and many dreams too.
The riders stay 100% focused on the cobbles
After the race passed by I headed to a VIP tent to watch the rest of the race on television, and to drink more beer. Bike racing and beer share a very important connection, as you can see.
Lee enjoys a beer after one of his Belgian rides
My European Adventure 2014 was amazing, thrilling and just beautiful. I won a race and watched two of the greatest races in the world. As usual, my 720Armour eyewear did an amazing job, kept my eyes safe and kept me looking cool.
Great trip, great sunglasses.
Lee and 720Armour on the famous cobbles