The day starts listening to the wind trying to rip the windows out of the hotel wall. Likely the patter of rain will add a bit of rhythm to the soundtrack. After hiding out in the bus until the last moment you bolt for the line and it’s instantly on. Racing starts flat out and you fight like hell all day. The bunch might take a chill moment from time to time when the cow path, aka: road you’re racing down, is so narrow that nobody could move anyways, and then we get back to smashing one and other until blood is flowing from ears and we’re all seeing triple. After the finish everybody drags themselves to the showers for the first of the two that will be required to rid your body of all the mixed up mud, manure and fertilizers that covered the roads. Eat a bland meal for dinner and do it again the next day.
How does this relate to the culture? Well — Belgians are TOUGH. They’re hard people. They suffer, and often look like they’ve suffered for the long time. A scan of most crowds confirms this. And they LOVE their bike racing, seemingly more than any other country in the world. I think this has to do with the fact that they relate to the suffering and probably enjoy watching people out there suffering more than they are. Racing in Holland is similar, but a bit more relaxed and with a skotche of “gentlemanliness” to it; this is reflected in a somewhat more picturesque countryside, and that of the people watching the race go by.
...riders disappear to the shower or bus, emerging moments later in something pushing the edge fashion-wise, hair slicked-back, with massive glasses allowing gratuitous ogling, and drenched in cologne
etc etc etc...
More from Team Slipstream-Chipotle's (hey, they've got a blog!) Will Frishkorn at Velonews