TOUR DE FRANCE – la Rotterdamme prologue

Jan Janssen and Joop Zoetemelk on the Erasmus Bridge

Dear Lance Armstrong,

Le Tour starts today, and I believe you can still do it. You’re never too old. And today’s course isn’t too tough – these old blokes did it on Thursday, without any of those wussy aerodynamic helmets you’ll be using. Nederlanders don’t very often win the tour. Jan Janssen (1968) and Joop Zoetemelk (1980) are the only ones who have ever done it. In 1985 Zoetemelk was world champion at the age of 38.

I’m older than you too, Lance, and I’m still riding. Yesterday I rode more than four times as far as the piddling 8.9km you’ll ride this afternoon. My time incidentally was 3hrs 37min 8.4seconds, not including coffee breaks. I did the last 5km in a hurry, even standing up on the pedals once or twice, because I needed to get to a television set before 4pm to see a football match.

I don’t know how interested you are in football, Lance, but you may have noticed that many Dutch people like the game. If you went to bed early last night, I hope you had a soundproofed room at the back of the hotel. If you had a view of a Rotterdam street, you would have heard some young Dutch people blowing orange horns.

Those instruments are called ‘vuvuzelas’ in the Dutch language. Most people in the world are already aware of them, but I know how single-minded you are about preparing for le Tour, so you may have missed them. Vuvuzelas were particularly popular yesterday, because Nederland beat Brazil and got into the semi-finals of the World Cup (a football competition currently being held in South Africa). The score was Nederland 2, Brazil 1.

The Rotterdam street cleaners would have been following the game too, so the Tour route may not be as clean as was originally intended. Sorry about that. While you’re riding today, watch out for stray orange balloons bobbling around the course.

Bonne chance,



Filed under Cycling, Holland, Sport

5 responses to “TOUR DE FRANCE – la Rotterdamme prologue

  1. Mike

    “…not including coffee breaks.” :-)))

  2. Tim

    It will be interesting to see how Lance fares on his final Tour. I hope he can do well, or at least bow out with grace and dignity – maybe support Levi to the yellow jersey, who knows?

    I’m intending to post a daily blog, so please feel free to visit and comment. The final part of my four-part race preview is here:

    Hopefully our paths will cross as the race progresses!

    • That’s a serious blog, you have there, Tim! My ignorance of real cycle racing is almost complete, but I do know Holland and Belgium, and knowledge of the course is almost as important as having good medication and a bike with thin tyres and funny handlebars.

      • Tim

        As a non-cyclist myself, I concur! To be honest, I’m just an enthusiastic fan who loves the sport for what it is (and has the time and patience to pull together the views of people with far more knowledge than I!)

        Looking forward to this afternoon. Vive Le Tour!

  3. Agnès

    Hoi Richard,
    jij bent overal snel bij. We zitten nog na te genieten van de voetbal gisteren en jij bent al met de tour de France bezig. Wanneer vertrekken jullie? Ik hoorde dat jullie v0lgende weekeinde naar Klaam en Marga gaan eten. Gisteren hebben we met vijf vriendinnen lekker dim sum gegeten. Leuk om met elkaar te zijn en te genieten (inclusief Yvonne ondanks alle slechte nieuws).
    Erg veel liefs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s