It's been quite some time. But like a friend that you reunite with after spending some time away, it feels good to be back in front of my laptop writing a blog for you. A lot has happened since my last entry. A lot you already know or at least have heard from others. There will be a time and place for me to share my thoughts and insights on the subject, but it will not be now due to on-going proceedings. I hope you can respect that and take this blog for what it is - my personal opinions on the current state of affairs within the sport.
Regardless of what did or didn't happen, what people will say or write, I fell in love with cycling as a little boy and in some way, it will always be part of me. No matter what, my love for this sport will never die. But strangely, for the first time in a very long time, I follow the sport from afar. Do I miss certain aspects? Without a doubt. Mainly the camaraderie. Leading the team meeting before the race, meeting the boys on the bus after a long day on the bike or those dinner conversations where it's a group of people from all over the world united by one thing - our love of cycling. Now on the other side, there's many aspects I don't miss. First one that comes to mind - the travel. It's part of the beauty of the sport - the journey on the world's roads. But it's not an easy journey and gets even harder when you have a family. For the first time, I feel like a normal father. I'm part of my children's lives. I don't miss birthdays, I don't miss performances, I don't miss the opportunities to teach my son to ride his bike. My kids love that I'm around more and seeing that joy on their faces ... Well, it's not possible to truly explain, but if you're a parent then you certainly know what I mean.
I'm glad that through all the controversy the past few months, the sport has prevailed. There's no doubt in my mind that this is a new era of cycling. The riders have seemed to embrace this new era and the fans equally as much. The focus has been put where the focus needs to be put - on the riders that make this sport what it is today. Cancellara, Sagan, Cavendish and the list goes on of riders who have earned the fans' admiration in 2013.
There is much I want to say on the first four months of the season and probably no better place to start than Spartacus. I have always said and believed that true champions not only have amazing physical capabilities, but they have a superior mindset compare to their competitors. The focus and determination of Fabian are second to none. He could have been haunted by last year's bad luck crash, but instead focused all his energy where it needed to be. It was certainly disappointing to see Tom Boonen go down. Every fan hopes for a Boonen-Cancellara showdown and unfortunately the last two years, we missed out. But even from what I read and saw, a healthy Boonen would have had difficulties taking down Sparatcus. Of course, I would be remiss to leave out the strong group that rallied behind him. Congrats to the entire RSLT team for a job well done. Chapeau.
Personally, it was a bit tough for me to see Stijn Devolder have such bad luck. Stijn's been on my team in the past and I was persistent in bringing him to RSLT. He's a rider with tremendous abilities. I'm confident that Stijn is surrounded by the right support staff who will enable him to return to the top level of podiums.
On the subject of winning, a special congrats to a very talented rider, Bob Jungels on his first professional victory, GP Noboli in Italy. It's great to see a rider like Bob taste success so early on and I believe that this will be a stepping stone to a very bright future.
There's a lot more I want to touch upon ... Andy Schleck, Peter Sagan et al. I'll look to pick it back up in a few days.
Thanks for reading and more importantly, your support.