Daniel Miller

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Bicycle Racing, 1982

There’s so much going on in this video.

Before I enumerate it all, here is how I came across it:

  • I listened to the Larens ten Dam episode of the Strava podcast
  • That led me to read up on Team CCC
  • That led me to realize Nathan Van Hooydonck, son of one of my favorite riders, Edwig Van Hooydonck, is on CCC
  • I read The tears of Van Hooydonck, which is well worth your time if you’re at all interested in bicycle racing. Van Hooydonck refused to dope in an era when doping was becoming commonplace. In the article he quotes his directeur sportif, Jan Raas:

    Was he never tempted by EPO or offered it? “No. Jan Raas said don’t do it,” he says.

  • I read up on Jan Raas, who I knew of but not a lot about. I knew plenty about Van Hooydonck, about how he had been forced out of the sport by refusing to dope. But the above quote puts his impetus for clean riding on Raas.

Now, the video, (mostly) of the 1982 Paris-Roubaix bicycle race:

  • Throughout: old bikes, wool jerseys, toe clips, big hair, bicycle hats worn in adherence to Rule #22 and European commentators (a Belgian TV personality and Roger De Vlaeminck, I’m pretty sure) adding to the otherness of the entire thing. My general Europhileness is probably entirely due to my fascination with bicycle racing since I was an early teenager.
  • 0:29: Roger De Vlaeminck, the Belgian nation champion at the time, secretly gets a tow by holding onto another unsuspecting rider’s saddle
  • 0:36: A directeur sportif smoking a cigarette in the team car
  • The sheer number of bike changes, including De Vlaeminck’s at 3:27 where he gentlemanly places his bike against the side of a building
  • 4:11: The shot inside the musette
  • 7:02: Jan Raas riding away from everyone in the classic style
  • 7:10: The rest of the lead group, including Bernard Hinault, De Vlaeminck and (I think) Eddy Planckaert, playing cat-and-mouse
  • 8:51: An interview in the famous Roubaix Velodrome showers
  • 10:41: The beginning of this weird segment where De Vlaeminck espouses the benefits of bicycle tube sealant, demonstrated by putting (a lot of) pins in a tire

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