Friday, March 5, 2010


OK a little cycling history. Paris- Nice, the so called "Race to the Sun" starts Sunday, see your Versus TV schedule! It is a week long stage race that often shows who is coming along for the year. Last year Contador blew-up, but we know the rest of that story. The race starts in dismal northern European weather and finishes up on the sunny shores of the Med, where the wealthy and celebs frolic. The king of P-N has to be Sean Kelly, who won it seven years straight 1982-1988. Also Andrei Kivilev died from head injury in 2003, prompting the UCI to make the final move to mandate helmet use. Many images of the race make up my memories, but the primary has to be a certain Frank Vandenbrouke in his breakout year, 1998. I had not registered his name before. The pic in VeloNews or some other mag shows him in dismal snowy conditions on his way to a win. He went on to many thrilling victories before celebrity and drugs and mental illness got him off the rails. He came through a several possible come backs but he always messed them up. He was the classics rider for the 21st century, or could have been. He typified the PRO look. This past year he came out with a very open and clear minded appeal to his fans and the cycling community. But he died of a heart failure while training in South Africa. Did drug use damage his heart? For all his flaws, he was a admirable man racing a bike. RIP Frank. HH

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