Thursday, February 28, 2013

For Briek's Sake

I am just reminded again of the awesomeness of Briek Schotte.

It is so much so that 't Gaverhopke Brewery released a limited edition Koerseklakske.

If you don't know Briek, all you need to know is here:

I can tell you more about "de Briek" lunch menu at the cafe near the museum of de Ronde in Oudenaarde, it is simple pasta with brown sugar and nothing more. 

Briek died in 2004 on the day de Ronde was won by a German, in front of two Belgians! By eyewitness account, winner Stefan Wesseman's wife was sitting in a cafe/bar in Oudenaarde when this happened. The Belgian crowd boasted that the race was won when two Belgians and a German entered the finale together. As the German winner crossed the finish line first, the crowd grew hushed, the silence so deafening that Wesemann's wife left the bar in awkwardness. 

Damn, Briek must have died heartbroken. 

Lieve Vlaanderen! 

(*) Koerseklakske refers to the leather helmet cyclists had to wear in Belgium well before helmet rules were widespread. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tour Down Under, Tour of Qatar, and the early season to de Omloop

Fans of the classics: as if the snow blanket of winter had lured us to complacency, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (OHN) is nearly upon us already. Hailed as the opener of the Belgian classics races (some other nations have had their opening races by then), we wonder the impact of emerging early season races in warmer climates on the OHN. More specifically, we wish to compare the importance of Tour of Qatar (ToQ) and Australia's Tour Down Under (TDU) on the performance of classics warriors who have done well in the OHN.

In order to do this, we made a list of wielrenners who finished in the top 5 of the OHN from 2008 to 2012 and empirically compute the correlation of their performance and their attendance at the TDU and ToQ. What are we able to find out? Read on.