Back in The Wattmeister’s heyday, the Belgian racing season began on the last weekend of February with Saturday hosting the cobbled Krentenbol Klassiek followed by the Stroopwafel Schild on Sunday. As this was racing for amateurs, the winners received no financial remuneration but were instead ‘paid’ by their own bodyweight in krentennbollen… a type of currant bun, and stroopwafels…caramel waffles.
Naturally, The Wattmeister, whose belly is bigger than his eyes (and always has been), had a firm but flawed strategy for these events. His stomach came up with a plan that it would be better to win the event tipping the scales at 85 kgs, rather than pitching up at a racing weight of 68 kgs. Inevitably, he never reached the podium.
Focussing on this weekend’s renewal of Het Omloop, won for the past two years by Brit Ian Stannard, who will not be defending his title. You see, some of the biggest names in pro cycling will be competing…Sagan, Kristoff, Boonen, Gilbert, Van Avermaet, and Terpstra as they prepare for glory in the approaching Spring Classics
However, this race brings out the cobbled surface racing specialists, names which are unfamiliar and almost unpronounceable to some…..Jens Keukeleire, Jens Debusschere, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Matthieu Ladagnous (threw in an easy one). This gives The Wattmeister the same kind of joy as seeing the first crocuses of the year or hearing the ratatatat of a woodpecker in Spring.
The race will probably be won by one of the riders from the powerful Etixx-Quickstep or BMC Racing outfits, but keep an eye on the rest particularly Jurgen Roelandts from Lotto-Soudal, a Belgian powerhouse who will put himself in the frame at some stage..