Breaking Out Of Boxes

20 February 2012

The cycling season hasn’t even really started yet,
but there are already a lot of things to talk about.
Philippe Gilbert seems happier than ever with his new team BMC,
Alberto Contador is not allowed to race until the 5th of August 2012
and what will the Olympic Games’ Road Race be: a sprint or not?
Right now, though, I would like to focus on something else:
the beautiful sound boxes make when new riders break out of them.
It’s only February, but it already happened at least once.
All of a sudden he was there and won.
Out of the blue, hardly anyone saw it coming.
People were whispering, asking each other for his name.
When new, fresh and catchy names cross the finish line first,
you can smell that Spring is in the air and you become
even more hopeful and excited about the upcoming cycling season.
You don’t want to think about doping, doom and disaster,
you want to dream about Flemish roads, cobbles and fields.
Discover new riders that inspire children in front of the television.
Will Philippe Gilbert win all the Ardennes classics like last year?
Or will there be someone out there who’s able to beat the Belgian rider?
It could be someone rather new who’s name hasn’t been mentioned a lot. Someone that has always been there, but just not when the action happened. Jelle Vanendert was one of the guys that did it last year.
He used to ride for others, but then there was this chance and he took it.
All of a sudden he was there and won.
Now he is a famous Belgian who gets recognized in the streets.
He doesn’t care about it though, says he’s still the same guy.
“I haven’t changed” he said while looking forward to 2012.
The only important thing is his bike, a road, a race, a new season.
The cycling season hasn’t even really started yet,
but there is already ‘a new Jelle Vanendert’.
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is his name. All of a sudden he was there and won.
27 years old, born in the UK and riding for Endura Racing.
He had quit cycling for 4 years to study in Bristol, gained some pounds,
liked to party, but eventually decided to come back to cycling.
Last year he became 5th and King of the Mountains in the Tour of Britain. However, until now hardly anyone had heard of him.
Even journalists and commentators were astonished
after the Tour de Méditerranéen and the Tour du Haut Var.
He won both races and couldn’t have started 2012 any better.
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. He broke out of his box, now who will follow?


© Simon Keitch

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