If you think you’re a committed cycling fan, then we’ve got bad news for you, as you’re simply never going to be able to compete with the dedication of one Belgian fan who is already camping out on the route of the Tour of Flanders with five days still to go until the big day.
Patrick Debondt (who we’re going to assume is retired, self-employed, or has a very understanding employer) has already parked his campervan at the bottom of the Paterberg in order to secure the best spot for the big day on Sunday, as well as to make sure his van does not sink into the mud.
“I’ve come already because rain is forecast,” Debondt told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
“Because of the rain in recent weeks, the field is soggy. I have to install road plates [metal or wooden boards that go underneath the wheels of the van to stop it sinking into the field] now, because that’s going to give help if several campers arrive and the field gets more swampy.”
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Debondt is parked at the bottom of the Paterberg, which will be climbed twice by the men and once by the women on Sunday, and be the final climb in both races.
However Debondt does not intend to simply sit in his field for the next five days, and will travel to watch Dwars door Vlaanderen, which does not use the Paterberg, on Wednesday.
“I’ll go to the Kluisberg for Dwars door Vlaanderen. The rest of the days you always experience something here. Riders who explore, cycling tourists, it is buzzing with activity here. I am not going to get bored.”