15 April 2011
Dear Juan Antonio Flecha,
It’s not fair.
All winter you’ve worked so hard for this day.
It’s your main goal every season.
For as long as I remember it’s your dream to win here.
Riding into the velodrome knowing that you are about to win.
Your dream of standing on that podium,
taking the cobblestone and hold it up in the air.
“One day”, you said.
Well, it wasn’t last Sunday.
You weren’t strong enough this year.
You were good in March, maybe too good.
Too soon in good shape this year.
In the last few years you ended three times on the podium.
But it was never the place you wanted.
One time a 2nd place, two times 3rd.
You got beaten in the sprint,
caused a crash in a corner on a cobble section,
or one of the others riders was just too strong and you couldn’t follow.
Still, isn’t it special that a man from Argentina loves the cobblestones?
I mean, you eat cobblestones for breakfast,
you think of them during your training,
you even dream of cobblestones at night.
Most of the riders from South-America, Spain or Italy turn around
when they see a cobblestone, let alone a whole road full of them.
You on the other hand, are aware of the great history of this race,
knowing that all the greats were riding the same route as you do now.
If there’s one rider that should be on the list of winners of Paris-Roubaix,
it would be you.
© Graham Watson