If any further proof was needed that bike riders really are the world’s hardest sportsmen, look no further than Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
France declared a national disaster as violent storms blew across Western Europe and any sensible event should surely have been cancelled. Not this Belgian semi-classic of course, and the organisers only cut 20 kilometres from the route when a fallen tree blocked a climb.
With gusting winds and a slick covering of mud over many of the roads there were countless crashes but none more spectacular than Quick Step’s Stijn Devolder, who managed to collide with a large plastic dustbin.
So who revel in these extreme conditions? Brits of course, with 22-year-old Sky rider Ian Stannard pulling off the best result of his career so far, finishing third. Fellow Brit Jeremy Hunt led the chasing group and closed to 45 seconds but with 35km to go he’d had enough and abandoned despite being fourth rider on the road. And he wasn’t alone. Just 26 hardy souls made it back to Kuurne.
Elsewhere in the magazine you’ll find Dr Hutch decrying the toughness of bike riders.
Don’t believe a word of it, Ian Stannard certainly scores a 10 on our hardometer.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly