We rejoin the final kilometer of the race with a shot from the rear of Hennie Kuiper in the back of the four-man breakaway, sitting up straight out of the saddle and stretching his arms. The narrator says, “The time is 10 past 5. A little relaxation before riding into the stadium.”
Next, we see Kuiper doing the funky turkey move with his legs, wobbling them from side to side, trying to shake the lactic acid out of his muscles before one of the biggest sprinting showdowns in his career.
The 1976 running of Paris-Roubaix, as masterfully documented in the film “A Sunday in Hell,” has come down to this: De Vlaeminck, Moser, Demeyer and Kuiper. Pretty much riding in that order. Last week, we saw Eddy Merckx make one last desperate attempt to bridge the gap, but it didn’t last long. It came much too late.
“De Vlaeminck and Moser have probably expended the most in building up and consolidating the breakaway’s lead. So, just how fresh are Demeyer and Kuiper?” asks the narrator.
If you’ve been following our careful – sometimes obsessive – analysis of this race for the past year or so, you’ll know that the narrator’s remark is a huge understatement. Has De Vlaeminck “probably” expended the most muscle fibers trying to keep this breakaway going? No. He has DEFINITELY invested the most in keeping the breakaway group a comfortable distance from Merckx. The last few kilometers have been a one-on-three contest, with De Vlaeminck being constantly attacked by the other riders. The Belgian hardman has put on a master clinic on how to respond to the challenges. With amazing reflexes and speed, he chased down each attack, nipping them all in the bud within seconds. It’s an astounding display of incredible athleticism and an amazing will to win.
We see the four leaders cruising down the road amid an eerie quiet. Then they turn a corner and we can hear the muffled cheering from the crowd in the velodrome. It makes our heart beat faster. Suddenly, the leaders are on the track! The announcer’s voice is booming in French.
It seems so ironic that a race that took the cyclists over so many stretches of brutally barbaric, Medievally cruel cobbles ends on a smooth track, a place that seems so civilized, scientific, modern and just. Few other sports do this to competitors, push them through such different worlds, make them compete in such contrasting environments.
Naturally, De Vlaeminck, the man who seems to want the victory the most, leads the group into the velodrome. The narrator says, “There have one and a half laps to do on the track. De Vlaeminck maintains his command of the situation. “
Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", De Vlaeminck, Demeyer, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, Paris-Roubaix, Roger DeVlaeminck | No Comments »
The camera doesn’t linger much on Eddy Merckx and that’s a good thing. We don’t like to see Eddy like this. There’s no fight in him. He’s beaten, exhausted. It’s sad. We’re so used to seeing Eddy living up to his nickname, The Cannibal, tormenting the pack, inspiring fear in everyone, voraciously eating up the road, humiliating his opponents. But that didn’t happen in Paris-Roubaix in 1976, as beautifully documented in the film “A Sunday in Hell” – which we’ve been revisiting almost weekly for more than a year, obsessing on all the film’s glorious details.
Eddy, past the peak of his career, inexplicably missed the break and found himself hopelessly gaped in the final kilometers by Roger DeVlaeminck, Francesco Moser, Marc Demeyer and Hennie Kuiper. We’ve all been there, that moment when we must accept reality and admit that we can’t bridge up to the leaders no matter how insanely hard we ride.
“Dutch Tour de France star (Joop) Zoetemelk is tired. Merckx seems resigned to his fate,” the narrator says as the camera focuses on the cyclingBelgian legend for a moment, though it seems like an eternity. We’re tempted to look away, avert our eyes, because we hate to see Eddy this way. Then, thankfully, the scene abruptly changes and we’re far up the road, following the four-man breakaway.
The commentary picks up again: “Moser tries to make a break for it, but again, De Vlaeminck parries the move in a flash. And Kuiper again, but DeVlaeminck sees it and is on his wheel once again.”
But wait, we’re back to Merckx again. He’s moving his way up through the pack. The narrator says, ”Eddy Merckx, the race is over for him. He hasn’t been able to dominate this one.”
Then Eddy gets out of his saddle slightly and starts stomping on his pedals like a man possessed, with his hands in the drops and his head below his bars as he powers on. “Suddenly, he mounts an attack. Only a Merckx would attack at this late hour,” the narrator says. You can’t help but love Eddy for giving it one last shot. It’s a surge fueled purely by pride. But it turns out to be hopeless.
Posted: March 6th, 2011 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", Demeyer, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, Joop Zeotemelk, Paris-Roubaix, Roger DeVlaeminck | No Comments »
The air is filled with the sound of team cars honking their Euro horns: “Bee baw bee baw bee baw!!!!” (Or is it: “Hee haw hee haw!!!) We’re treated to a wonderful arial shot of Roger De Vlaeminck driving the train, with Francesco Moser, Marc Demeyer and Hennie Kuiper on his wheel.
Welcome to our latest installment of “A Sunday in Hell.” For more than a year, we’ve been breaking down the fantastic documentary, sometimes frame by frame. Finally, we’ve reached the final kilometers of the 1976 Paris-Roubaix classic. It looks like the final contenders will be Flemish hardman De Vlaeminck, Italian superstar Moser, Belgian up-and-comer Demeyer and Dutchman Hennie Kuiper, proudly wearing the rainbow jersey.
“Kuiper is always in the rear. Is he tired or is he waiting for a chance to get a jump on the others?” the narrator says as the camera provides a profile shot of the riders hammering through a village. “That’s his speciality and that’s how he, a little unexpectedly, became the world champion last year.”
The rest of the way is all asphalt, no more punishing cobbles. The smooth roads will make it hard for the chasing pack with Eddy Merckx to catch up. We see a great rear shot of Moser’s Sanson team car, with three bikes on a rack over the rear boot or trunk. A mechanic is hanging off the roof of the car, carrying a spare bike on his shoulder in case Moser is cursed with a mechanical and needs a fast swap.
“On the final miles, DeVlaeminck again keeps the pressure on,” the narrator says. “His pacemaking is tough and exhausting. It looks as if he’s trying to force an early showdown. By continuing his attacks, he’s hoping to drain the power from his three companions.”
Often in bike races, the athlete who works the hardest and deserves to win gets defeated. It’s one of the best examples of how our beautiful sport reflects life. By joining the race and competing with all our strength – physical, emotional and mental – we are often blessed with glory. But we’re also forced to cope with the other cruel outcome – defeat. That’s the way it goes in life in general. It’s these situations that bike racing prepares us so well for. It brings us immense happiness and satisfaction. But it also hardens us for the unpleasant possibilities. Still, we get back on the bike and ride again, hoping for new glory.
Posted: February 27th, 2011 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", Demeyer, Francesco Moser, Hennie Kuiper, Paris-Roubaix, Roger DeVlaeminck | No Comments »
The Eurovision TV cameraman is sitting on the back of a motorbike that’s roaring along just behind the lead group of four riders in Paris-Roubaix in 1976. The race is being televised live now with only about an hour left. It must have been thrilling to listen to the early part of the race on the radio, then see the battle explode into images on TV just as the racing really gets heated.
Welcome back to our weekly series that takes a look at a scene or two from one of the world’s best cycling documentaries, “A Sunday in Hell.” Last week, we left off with Eddy Merckx inexplicably missing the most crucial break in the race. Roger De Vlaeminck was able to slip away with Francesco Moser, Marc Demeyer and Hennie Kuiper, wearing the world champion’s rainbow jersey.
This week, we pick up the race with a view of the back of the Eurovision cameraman’s red jacket as he follows the lead group on motorbike. “The live transmission has begun,” the narrator says. “And we’re into the final hour of Hell.”
We leave the race momentarily and find ourselves in a Eurovision studio, where three TV producers babble away in French as they watch the race shown on several small monitors mounted to the wall.
The camera moves back to the race and we’re shown the riders and their team cars tearing across the last stretch of pave. They kick up so much dirt and dust that it is hard to see the screaming fans lining the “road.” Despite all the flying debris, none of the riders wear sunglasses or any other form of eye protection. Nor do they have bike computers or race radios. It was a time when you raced by feeling.
The narrator counts how much time the leaders have on the chasers: “…10 seconds…15…20…25…30…35…40…45……….and here comes Merckx, Godefroot and the others. … More than a minute behind De Vlaeminck and the others.”
He adds, “Some of the worst pave lies close to Roubaix, and on these mishapen roads and amid these dust clouds, a lot can happen.”
Moser leads around a sharp corner and almost goes off the road as he dodges a race motorcyle that’s stuck in a ditch. After the four leaders clear the tricky turn, a pack of race motorcycles panic and gets jammed up as they try to negotiate the turn. There’s chaos as team cars race up to the spot and then slam on their breaks and wait for the motorcycles to untangle themselves. The fans lining the road start going nuts and yell at the motorbikes as a couple gendarmes start blowing their whistles, trying to restore order and unclog the road.
Just as the meyhem gets sorted out, the human locomotive Merckx pulls his train around the corner. “Now there are only 12 men in Merckx’s group,” the narrator says. “The rest are scattered in the dust.”
There’s an aerial shot of De Vlaeminck at the front of his group. The narrator explains that De Vlaeminck and Moser are doing all the work while Demeyer and Kuiper draft on them.
“Neither Demeyer or Kuiper take the lead. They are just hanging on or are they being crafty and saving their strength?” he says. “Demeyer glues himself to De Vlaeminck’s rear wheel. He’s been in that position since the start of the breakaway. He’s still marking De Vlaeminck. In so doing, he’s furthering the war that Maertens and De Vlaeminck are waging against each other.”
Posted: January 22nd, 2011 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", Francesco Moser, Freddy Maertens, Hennie Kuiper, Paris-Roubaix, Roger DeVlaeminck, Walter Godefroot | No Comments »
With the body of a power lifter, Walter Godefroot takes the lead. The wind blows back his gritty hair and exposes his tan forehead as he rattles over the cobbles at a great speed. “Now it’s his turn to force the pace so that it hurts,” the narrator says. “Godefroot, the former winner Paris-Roubaix, seems in good form, and he’s riding very well. With his smooth, powerful technique, he’s an expert in this terrain. He’s not nicknamed the ’Bulldog of Flanders’ for nothing.”
Welcome back to “A Sunday in Hell.” Every Sunday, we try to review a scene or two from one of the best documentaries about our beautiful but cruel sport. We’re getting close to the finish of the Paris-Roubaix classic in 1976. Last week, we re-witnessed Freddy Maertens crash out of the race.
Today, we pick up the action with Godefroot at a crucial moment in the race. It’s when Eddy Merckx miscalculates or weakens and misses a decisive breakaway. First, we see a wonderful close-up, slow-motion shot of Godefroot riding in his drops, grinding away over the pave . The watch on his wrist is jiggling from all the intense vibration from the pounding by the primitive stones. Then the camera quickly pulls back and we get a big picture of how the race is developing. Godefroot is not alone.
“Suddenly it happens. Four men have broken away. Godefroot, DeMayer, De Vlaeminck and Kuiper,” the narrator says. “De Vlaeminck looks back and proceeds to increase the speed even more. Notice Demeyer tucked into De Vlaeminck’s slipstream. He’s riding for himself now. The crash by his captain, Maertens, has released him from all obligations.”
This image came up in a search for a Moser photo, but I think it's actually Beppe Saroni. I decided to keep it anyway because it's such a great picture.
About 200 yards behind, there’s a chase group of two French riders, including our old friend Raymond Poulidor. The Frenchmen are riding side by side with barely enough room for another cyclist to fit between them. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, a rider rockets in between them and flies up the road. The narrator identifies him: “It’s Francesco Moser, with his distinctive style. His still, aerodynamic position on the bicycle is an imposing sight of almost effortless rotary action.”
Moser is in his drops with his nose almost touching his front wheel as he powers away from Poulidor, who seemingly can’t hold his wheel for even a second. Moser bridges the gap, making it five men in the leading group. But wait a minute, Godefroot punctures! From an aerial shot, we see him take his right foot off the pedal and slow down as he rounds a bend. The rest of the group speeds off. A cruel sport, indeed.
The camera moves back to Merckx, who is in serious trouble now. ”Merckx unaccountably wasn’t there when (the break) happened,” the narrator said, “but naturally, he’s leading the pursuit.”
In 2005, Cycle Sport devoted its entire January edition to Eddy Merckx, and it features some great interviews and anecdotes. Some of the most interesting were about the rivalries between Merckx and other Belgian greats, like De Vlaeminck and Godefroot.
De Vlaeminck was quoted as saying his rivalry with the Cannibal was largely built up by the media and fans. He said he admires Merckx and even named his son “Eddy.” But he added, “Merckx made his marriage vows in French, and that angered people in Flanders. I became their champion because of it. I am Flemish through and through, and I won’t even speak French.”
Posted: January 16th, 2011 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", Francesco Moser, Freddy Maertens, Godefroot, Paris-Roubaix, Roger DeVlaeminck | No Comments »
At Waffles & Steel, we’ve been spending the past year or so reliving the 1976 Paris-Roubaix classic, as masterfully documented by the film “A Sunday in Hell.”
We’re getting close to the finish – just 22 miles away. The lead bunch has been reduced to 25, with all the big names of that fantastic cycling era positioning themselves for a decisive move. Earlier, Eddy Merckx used a monster effort to devastate the field with no success. Eddy is a bit past his prime and not as dominant as he used to be.
The narrator says, “Freddy Maertens, his teammate Marc Demeyer and (Walter) Godefroot are at the front. Merckx has stopped trying to split the field.”
They’re jackhammering over a narrow cobbled primitive road that cuts through a farm field. Finally, they reach a section of modern pavement, and most of the riders get out of the saddle for a surge on the smooth surface – a great relief after the severe pave pounding.
Oh no! There’s another crash! It will serve as foreshadowing for another awful event that will develop soon. But this time, one of the victims is the great Belgian cyclist Walter Planckaert. He’s sprawled out – his legs in the street, the curve of his back on the curb and his torso on a grass strip off the road. He’s not moving. His bike is trashed, with one wheel bent into a taco shape, the tubular half off the rim like a limp black snake.
After a brief lament about losing Planckaert, the narrator returns to the front: “Up here, the battle is coming to a boil. Every other second the rhythm is broken by someone trying to break away. All the favorites are active now and have put themselves at the front of the field.”
He continues: ”DeVlaeminck, Demeyer, Godefroot, Maertens. … They keep a sharp eye on each other. Maertens takes the lead. But off to the right, DeVlaeminck suddenly attacks. Way out on the side of the road, he pedals away in a new attempt to get free. Moser is the first to react, then Maertens. This time they know it’s do or die.”
They catch DeVlaeminck and we lose sight of the bunch as they round a corner on a spectator-lined road through a small town. But as we clear the corner, we see it. It’s a crash! Someone is down! It’s Freddy Maertens!
He’s on his side, screaming in pain as he moves his body. When he’s helped to his feet, he immediately doubles over. He’s finished, out of the race. There’s a touching moment when he’s ushered into the white doctor’s car. Before he gets in, he stops to watch a mechanic pick up his bike and load it on top of a team car. In a time of personal tragedy, he still wants to be sure his ride is being handled properly, even though didn’t have to spend an entire month’s salary to buy it.
The narrator says, “Maertens sadly ends the race as a passenger in the doctor’s car.”
Posted: January 9th, 2011 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", De Vlaeminck, Demeyer, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, Godefroot, Paris-Roubaix, Roger DeVlaeminck | No Comments »
We’ll be focusing on two scenes in “A Sunday in Hell” today. One is kind of bizarre and the other is awe inspiring.
The first scene looks like it was created by David Lynch, not Jorgen Leth. It’s a French pub crowded with fans following the race on the radio. Nearly everyone is smoking. The place has the most hideous wallpaper I’ve ever seen – wavy black, brown, white and gold stripes climbing up the wall. I imagine this is what one sees on a bad acid trip or after banging one’s head on the pave. The men – most with long sideburns, floppy collars blooming out of leisure suits – are drinking beer from tall, skinny glasses. The last shot is of a strange guy in his 20s dressed in a black suit with a bright red carnation sticking out of his coat pocket. True, in a Lynch flick, the guy would be a dwarf. Still, it’s weird.
The second scene begins with Roger DeVlaeminck sending two of his Brooklyn riders up the road. Eddy Merckx and Freddy Maertens have finally caught up with DeVlaeminck’s group, so it’s time to shake things up again. “This breakaway is a tactical maneuver,” the narrator says, adding that the two riders aren’t real threats in the race. “They’ve been sent by DeVlaeminck with the intention of forcing his rivals to greater activity. It’s obvious that DeVlaeminck wants to dictate how the race is ridden this year. He’s on the offensive, even with this ploy by his own support riders.”
Next we see the riders rolling into a feed station and many of the domestiques are quitting the race. Some will bum a ride off of spectators, who will take them to Roubaix.
The narrator gets back to the action: “The two Brooklyn attackers still have a slight advantage, but it can’t go on for long because Merckx asusual has assumed the role that all the others are eager to see him in – the lead position. Once in front, he heads the pursuit like a locomotive. It falls into place for DeVlaeminck. Merckx now has to ride after the breakaway that DeVlaeminck has organized. Merckx is causing the group to string out.”
As the narrator describes the action, we see a fantastic aerial shot of Merckx, who looks desperate as he powers over the cobbles pushing a huge gear, his bike bouncing over the bigger chunks of pave. It’s a wonderful shot of one of the greatest athletes ever doing what he does best: hammering down a road, inflicting intense pain on the competition There are about 40 riders behind Merckx, and they seem to be struggling to stay on his wheel. Once when I showed this movie to a small group of my riding mates, everyone was chatty during the first part of the movie. But when we got to this scene, everyone fell silent, put their beers down and just watched in awe.
Posted: November 14th, 2010 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", Eddy Merckx, Jorgen Leth, Paris-Roubaix, Roger DeVlaeminck | No Comments »
Seated at the keyboard with a micro brew from Michigan served up in a tulip-shaped Duvel glass bought at the Metro superstore in Guangzhou of all places, it’s time to do what we usually do at this time of the week: revisit “A Sunday in Hell.”
The riders are powering over a hilly section of pave. Freddy Maertens, one of the great Flemish riders, gets dropped. The film never explains what happened, but Maertens rides like a madman to catch up. There’s a great shot of him riding alone up a long cobbled hill. I can’t imagine how much effort must be expended to catch riders like Eddy Merckx and Roger DeVlaeminck. I’ve been in this situation (but not behind Merckx, of course!) far too many times, and catching the group often seems nearly impossible.
The narrator says, “There’s not much distance between the two leading packs. In other words, Merckx’s section has closed on DeVlaeminck’s group. There are about 15 men in the first group, and Merckx at the head of the second group commands another 18. But Maertens isn’t in either group. He must have had problems. But there he is, hidden behind a motorcyle, a little ahead of the main field. Now, Maertens must catch up, alone with no help from his teammates. A mile later, and the situatin is fairly obvious. They’re still pounding away in the leading groups. Several in that company don’t want to make it easy for Maertens to join on. … Once again, the Flemish riders are dictating the pace.
Only seven seconds separates Merckx’s group with the lead group. “A merging of all the men who matter is imminent,” the narrator says. “How far back does the hapless Maertens lag behind. He’s got to slog away at it in order not to lose his chance. If the main group swallows him, and they’re not far behind, he risks getting stuck with them. Maertens is a strong rider, particularly in time trials, but it’s remarkable that none of his teammates up ahead has come back in order to help him. The gap is 40 seconds between Maertens and the leaders.”
Maertens does finally get help from his team and he catches up on the group. There’s a great scene with DeVlaeminck’s team car roaring up behind him, with the coach yelling at DeVlaeminck that Maertens has caught up. DeVlaeminck first says, “Huh?” He understands when his coach repeats himself and just puts his head down and starts hammering.
Posted: November 6th, 2010 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", Freddy Maertens, Paris-Roubaix, Roger DeVlaeminck | 1 Comment »
Each week on Sunday, Waffles & Steel puts a segment of “A Sunday in Hell” under an electron microscope so that we can better appreciate what’s arguably the best cycling documentary ever made.
Last week, the riders finally hit the first patch of pave, and Roger DeVlaeminck caused panic and chaos in the peloton with a breakaway. It didn’t take long for his nemesis Freddy Maertens to catch him. In today’s segment, we learn that Francesco Moser and Eddy Planckaert are also in the lead group of about 20 riders.
Merckx is in a chasing group with Walter Godefroot, another one of my all-time favorite riders, a man who for me personifies the Belgian hardman. I also love his name: Godefroot.
As the riders jidder and jadder over the cruel cobblestones, we see some more great shots of the fans standing on the embankments along those medieval roads. Farmers in sweaters and tweed hats. A guy in a tie. A little girl in a cycling cap. A 70s style hipster wearing a spectacular orange leisure suit and what appears to be a white beret. Did disco really suck that bad?
Then we see more carnage and misfortune. The side of the road is lined with riders waiting for a spare tire. Two Brooklyn riders are hunched over a bike trying to fix it themselves.
The narrator says, “In the rear, the weak and less fortunate are being left behind, while those who don’t like cobblestones prefer riding on the road side. An accident here on the first stretch of pave can be disastrous. This is where the broom wagon has something to do.”
Next comes one of the most mundane scenes. But it’s one of my favorites. The camera is suddenly inside the broom wagon, an aging vehicle that clatters down the road. Why spend money on a fancy ride for the domestiques, men who would probably be working in a grimy factory if they weren’t on a bike team?
One of the riders from Merckx’s Molteni team barges through the broom wagon’s doors. With black smudges under his eyes, he looks like he just finished a shift deep inside a coal mine. He’s speaking in Flemish and there are no subtitles. The tone of his voice and his angry, unsmiling face shows that he’s unhappy. He’s dropping out of the race too early – a really bad move when his boss is already in difficulty. I can’t identify the rider by name. When I watched the DVD with my good friend Jan Kole – a retired Dutch pro who now makes beautiful steel frames under his own brand, Colossi – he knew the rider (and everyone else in the peloton) but I forgot to jot down the name. (Sander, can you ask you dad for me?)
The Molteni cyclist tilts his head and we can get a good look of what’s under his jersey collar. Just below the fabric is white skin, the kind found on Northern Europeans at the start of spring. Above the collar, pinkish orangish red flesh – the tone common on Northern Europeans after their first day of a Thai beach holiday. After he sits down, the Molteni rider has to close the door himself. It emits a tinny sounds, like a cheap aluminum storm door on an old home. He slams it once…twice…and again…and finally gets it to close with the fourth try. These men are workers, not sports celebrities. They slam their own doors.
Now my favorite part. He rips the leather hairnet helmet from his head and reveals a spectacular two-tone brow. The top part is a pinkish white. The bottom part is dark, a mixture of sunburn and pave grime: dirt, cow manure, diesel drips, sweat and other sorts of rural Euro filth. He says something else in Flemish, but we don’t need subtitles. His face says it all.
Posted: October 10th, 2010 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", Eddy Merckx, Eddy Planckaert, Francesco Moser, Roger DeVlaeminck, Walter Godefroot | 3 Comments »
It’s not Sunday yet, but let’s take an early look at the latest installment in our “Sunday in Hell” series for two reasons: 1) I’m going on a trip tomorrow and won’t have time to post in the morning and 2) this is one of my favorite segments and I can’t wait to discuss it. The scene has all the things I love about the documentary: the music, narration and a bold move by Roger DeVlaeminck – one of my all-time favorite cyclists.
Picking up from last week, the riders have hit the first stretch of cobbles. The three-man breakaway has been reduced to one, who is rapidly losing ground. It’s time for the real Belgian hardmen to take control of the race. On a long hill, DeVlaeminck gets out of his saddle and powers past the lead rider, whose name I can’t spell (Many apologies. My background is in Asian languages.)
The narrator says, “But then it happens. The front of the field catches up to him and streams past. It’s Roger DeVlaeminck followed by Walter Plankaert. DeVlaeminck is now in the clear and forcing the pace. There’s panic in the field and signs of disintegration.”
I love that line: “There’s panic in the field and signs of disintegration.” When a friendly weekend group ride becomes a survival-of-the-fittest hammerfest toward the end, and I’m able to start the fun with an attack, I always like to say to myself: “There’s panic in the field and signs of disintegration” as I try to pull away from the group. Invariably, my attack is neutralized by the time I finish the line! But it’s always fun.
As DeVlaeminck opens up a gap and looks back to see if anyone is pursuing, the soundtrack plays a deep, woody cello solo. The narrator says, “DeVlaeminck continues his tremednous push, not that he intends to go it alone, but rather to provoke a state of alarm and split the field.”
Another great line: “Rather to provoke a state of alarm and split the field.”
The cello continues and we see DeVlaeminck partly shrouded in clouds of dust kicked up on the rural roads by the motorcycles in front of him. Wonderful cinematography.
Next, we hear the deep sound of pounding drums. It’s another Belgian hardman. Freddy Maertens appears in his blood-red Flandria jersey, gripping the top of his bars with his cap turned backwards.
The narrator says, “Behind him (DeVlaeminck) and leading the pursuit is his sworn enemy, Freddy Maertens.” There are more pounding drums as Maertens catches DeVlaeminck.
“But the wild dash for the lead has had a dramatic effect. It took just a couple of miles to split the field, the merciless weeding out process has begun,” the narrator says.
More drums with a long shot of the peloton in disarray, strung out on a dusty, winding farm road.
Posted: October 2nd, 2010 | Author: wafflesandsteel | Filed under: "A Sunday in Hell", Freddy Maertens, Roger DeVlaeminck | 3 Comments »