Photo of the day: Eddy Bosberg

"Where have you gone Eddy Bosberg.  A nation turns it crying eyes to you...  What's that you say Noël Foré?   Eddy Bosberg's left and gone away..." 


The photo isn't from the Bosberg.. it's De Muur, where in 1989 Edwig Van Hooydonck softened up the selection in a cold, wet rain soaked Ronde van Vlaanderen before the killer attack on the final cobbled climb that gave him his nickname for eternity.
Look closely at Edwig's face.  And see emerging belief.  This is exact point when the mind says:  "You can win DeRonde"
The Muur was where the battle is won.  The Bosberg? The coup de grace.
(photo Miroir du Cyclisme No. 417, April 1989) 

That '89 Ronde was a real flahute special.   Riders coming in one by one.  Wasted, wet and cold, covered with mud, with frozen fingers and numb feet.   On the podium, the 22 years-young Edwig burst into tears of joy and relief.  Which didn't stop. For long minutes.  But every Flemish heart watching, understood completely.   Hearts that lament the loss of the Muur-Bosberg finale this year.

'Eddy Bosberg' pulled the same trick again, two years later.  Final blow on the Bosberg after everyone was on their knees.  But it's this first recital that will always remain so special.   The quintessential red-haired fair flemish boy - tall, rail thin, meek, unheralded, strong and hard - winning De Ronde in the most flemish of weather.   And in the most appropriate manner.  A big ring attack on the Bosberg that left a hard Norwegian commando named Dag-Otto Lauritzen with no response.  The final elimination, followed by a triumphal procession to the coronation.  

It was a finale that often took the rhthym of a bullfight.  Big long battle to wear down the bull.  The final faena op de Muur.  The kill on the Bosberg.  A triumphal procession...

He had two legends in the officials car guide and exort him in to Meerbeke.   Ex winners Noël Foré, and Eddy Merckx.   Imagine you're 22.  You're a few k from winning the Ronde.  Your two wieleridols are banging on the car doors.

You'd cry too.

Today's photo is a tribute to the flahute in his natural habitat.   De zone: The final half hour of a seven hour battle.

And it's an ode to a traditional finale that will be sorely missed this year.   The Muur, and the Bosberg.   They are De Ronde.   Hopefully will be again.

This year's revised route might well be a great classic.  A great race, and a great spectacle.  And be great commercially.  I don't doubt it.  But I don't care.  They could run a kermesse up and around the Kwaremont 20 times too.   That would probably be a great race too.  But it wouldn't be the Ronde.    The Monza 1000km. is a great sports car race too.  But it's not the Mille Miglia.

The Muur-Ronde combo was a perfect finale.   A drama with choreography timed as perfectly as a corrida de toros.   It was 'death in the afternoon' with rain, under leaden skies.

Some things are better left alone.   "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Comments

  1. Just as a correction - the The Monza 1000 was a circuit race (basically 10KM per lap) - the Mille Miglia was similar to the TdF Auto race - open endurance race- held on open roads and in stages (not too many people are aware of this) - which was held in Italy.

    It is still run every year but your vehicle for the Mille Miglia has to be a pre-1957 car.

    Open to the rich and famous.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How long has the Mur-Bosberg final been in place for the Ronde? 1980 or 1981 depending on which route up the Muur you count. The Bosberg joined the race in 1975. We currently think of this final as THE Ronde final, but it hasn't always been so. Neither Merckx nor Fore won their Rondes over this modern course.

    The route has always changed over the years and this is simply the latest iteration. Let's give it a try for a year or two before we judge it too harshly. The Paterberg is a wicked climb and the new combo could turn out to be the shit!

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  3. Eddy,

    This is the absolute best blog page ever! I love the photos; they bring back many great memories for me. Please continue with it!

    MB

    ReplyDelete
  4. I must echo MB. I started following cycling in the mid-80s and that period has always been the most magical for me. It combined keen interest with a certain mystery borne by a lack of available information. Love it.

    Let's have some more 1980s Classics stories and pics to accompany them, please.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love the blog. Have to disagree on this one though. The new route, if anything, is harder than what's being taken out. Will change the race, but that's the eternal nature of the one-day classics. Either they change to meet new demands, or get stale and die out.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, it is an interesting change to the Flanders route. Time marches on I suppose. It will be fun to watch how the feel of the race turns out. I am old school, but rooting for Boonen this year. Not sure if it will be a better course for him or not. I started watching Flanders around the time Jesper Skibby got "runned over" by his team car! Crazy!

    Is it Feb. 26th yet? Bring on Het Volk!

    MB

    ReplyDelete

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