Doctors Leinders, Rijckaert & Other Babble


Photo: Kristof Ramon

It’s Wednesday, April 3, 2013 and I’m feeling just a wee bit nostalgic. Last Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen is one for the history books. For me, it’s a little bit like the week after the Superbowl would be for a rabid football fan. I guess I’ll have to wait another year for the next one.

Though Fabian Cancellara’s win was dominant, defiant and damned inspiring, the new “lap” format robbed much of the “epic” from this monument of bike racing. In fact, though the riders still had to duke it out on the Oude Kwaremont a bunch of times, this new Classic seemed a bit more like a kermiskoers and a bit less like the grand old race it has always been.

Bummer number two for de Ronde, is Sagan’s podium gaffe. Too bad his hand was able to overshadow the winner’s legs, lungs, heart and race-sense.

Bummer number three—for me anyway—were the photos of Tom Boonen on the deck. Boonen has not been enjoying the best of luck and/or form, but it sure would be good to think he’d be racing Paris-Roubaix this coming Sunday.

Having recently moved into a new house, I took full advantage of my early-week nostalgic mood and spent much of Monday shuffling through my old newspaper clippings, racing contracts, blood tests and other assorted mementos. I really hadn’t ever thought about it that much before this, but I have autographs from two of the most famous doctors in cycling—Dr. Geert Leinders and Dr. Eric Rijckaert.

Clockwise from pink: Reciept from the Tulip team indicating I’d bought one of my bikes; proof of my “divorce” from TVM; personal letter from Dr. Leinders explaining test results; Flemish government doping control form complete with Dr. Rijckaert’s autograph

Leinders, whose practice was about a 45-minute drive away, helped me with my training program for the first couple of years I spent in Belgium, but I started going to see Dr. Rijckaert because he was just one kilometer from my adopted home. Ironically, Dr. Rijckaert’s signature is on a Flemish government doping control form here—he was once an administering doctor for the Flemish anti-doping board.

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