Pro (relaxed) race starts and six degrees of separation
Today we (and almost every race we do) had a neutral promenade/start. The real start flag dropped after we covered about a kilometer and a half of promenade. During this promenade, quite a few riders stopped to take care of some business (you can only hold so much coffee). Even during the “Real” start, they were still pulling over to take care of business in the beginning.
Dirk Demol our team director was on the same team as Johan Musseau for a number of years in the past. When they did races together, Dirk and Johan were almost always roommates on the road. Dirk was one of Johan’s main lieutenant so they were close friends and still are. Johan is Belgium’s (current) Top paid cyclist and arguably the best. He is probably the best (current) Belgium athlete (in general) too. No disrespect to my favorite Belgium, Eddy Merckx.
Johan was cruising back to the Peloton during the promenade. He saw Dirk and hit his brakes to chat (while we were supposedly in the race) as we were driving. He
was talking with Dirk for a good while. I looked at the odometer after he returned to the Peloton and noticed he was talking with Dirk for the first 5 kilometers (and the promenade). A good example of how relaxed pro racing is a lot of times. They know they will be in the saddle for 5 to 7 hours and a few minutes of relaxed starting kilometers is fine. They even get mad at riders who attack at the beginning during the “warm up”
Just last Tuesday after the Tour some of our staff were staying at the Nazareth (again). Dirk, Juan (mechanic) Arno (camper driver) and Stephen (another camper driver) got tickets to Tina Turner. Since Dirk had 5 tickets, he asked Johan Musseau to go along. With nothing to do, Johan took the offer. They say you are connected to everyone by six degrees of separation (or something to that effect). Now I’m one “degree” (or more) closer to Johan Musseau.