Driedaagse De Panne: Stage 2 – Zottegem to Koksijde
It’s not easy to take a turn up front in the break when your shirt is up to your armpits, your left arm is nearly dislocated trying to reach a pocket, and two different riders have tried and failed to help you put a radio transmitter, now kaput, into the pocket of your bib short. But this was the fate of Brian Van Goethem today, on stage 2 of the Driedaagse De Panne.
With 70 km still to race Van Goethem problems were two-fold: mechanical, and wardrobe. Noticing this, and figuring a problem shared was a problem halved, two fellow riders stepped up to help.
First there was Evgeny Shalunov of Gazprom-RusVelo who, noticing Van Goethem’s distress, reached over to hoist the jersey up over the radio and help a guy out. The Dutchman looked back at Shalunov. From TV pictures it was unclear whether he was thanking him, or telling him to keep his hands off the merchandise. Either way Shalunov quickly pedaled away.
Moments later Lawrence Naesen of WB Veranclassic appeared alongside. Van Goethem had by now managed to get the radio into the pocket, but his jersey was still all over the place.
Naesen looked on, in that way you watch a child trying to tie shoelaces for the first time, and unable to stay out of it any longer reached over to help, trying to pull the jersey down from Van Goethem’s ribs down to his waist. Again Van Goethem looked over, and again it was unclear what was said. All we do know is that Van Goethem isn’t ticklish.
They rode on, Van Goethem looking back for his team car, then back at Naesen who now laughing. Meanwhile there was no sign of help.
Or was there?
In the distance Van Goethem might have seen his Roompot team mate Pim Ligthart (and Alex Kirsch of WB Veranclassic) furiously trying to bridge the gap. Who knows, maybe Ligthart was on a mission to inform Van Goethem that his radio wasn’t working, and that perhaps he should drop back to the car and get it replaced.
We’ll never know for sure whether Ligthart delivered such a message, or whether Van Goethem subsequently told Ligthart where he could shove that message if it was. If so Naesen and Shalunov were on hand to help.
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