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Kilometre 82. The rider from Cycles Goff rides next to me. ‘We are away’, I tell him I take over. He takes over again. Then me again, pounding in the wind He rides smooth, a golden boy I have to observe him better and when I pass him again, I see big blue eyes And strange, did not notice it before, but he has some sort of a beard I had estimated him about eighteen years old, but now I see, he’s much older than that Maybe 38 of 39 Old guy actually He rides next to me for a moment, and looks at me ‘Vivre lentement, rouler rapidement!’ – Come on, Krabbé HIS TWENTY-TWO WAS STILL CLEAN I got the book as a present for my birthday, from my wife. And I read it in one afternoon It grabbed me so much Because it really evokes the atmosphere of riding Everything you write after The Rider, doesn’t really add something The Rider is so big and so all-encompassing it really captures everything there is What is riding, how does it feel to race That book is monumental It has something grands and it gives the sport stature He’s 1567 meters high, not even the highest in the area he’s hidden in The Cevennen, exactly between the dividing line of the provinces Lozère and Gare But it’s said that you won’t get a better view than on the top of this mountain On a clear day, you’re able to overlook a quarter of France It goes by the name ‘The mountain of rain’ Not without reason It can be haunted in the south of France. And not only the weather can be devastating, the stage can be too Especially that particular day: June, 26 1977 The day on which cycling history was written. During a stage that’s named after just this mountain The Tour de Mont Aigoual. And just over 43 years later, the Tour du France does what is hasn’t done since ’87 And what is practically never does: it sends the riders over the flanks of this col This col that should qualify as Hors Category, for way other reasons than usual Why? We will soon find out We will explore the Cevennen itself, but will also listen to writers and journalists, to riders and former riders. Because how come when you ask any random rider, even when they’re on the run for a chasing peloton, and with the finish line in sight, about the best cycling book ever written, he or she will answer, without even the slightest hesitation and with full persuasion: The Rider. By Tim Krabbé For a number of years, I lived in the strange world of cycling and like every writer I thought: what shall I write about? And that strange little world sounds a great subject And so emerged The Ride’ Krabbé initiated me in professional cycling with his book The Rider He explained to me how it all works I gained my ground in cycling Not as a rider, but by writing I never could have imagined that I would get a place in cycling when I started cycling at age thirty What do we have to do there? – You should ride I’m terribly jealous of you guys riding over there Are you going to sit and have a drink now? – Sounds like a great plan Why don’t we go for a short spin? – No man, let’s just have an appetizer We’re here, at last We are around the finish line – I never would have thought it would be this crowded Whenever I read the book I imagined it like a desolate place, but it’s not It probably in the winter, but not during the week There’s the last corner 40 rounds on the 53×13, further on is the finish I guess that’s over there

Let’s make one thing clear, Lau Tim was pretty ‘ride fast’ – He was pretty ‘ride fast’ But with all due respect, Tim, when you’re listening to this, or watching this you weren’t really ‘living slow’ – He could learn us a thing or two Was there a bar you would go to? ‘No.’ Do you have a tasty recipe for us? ‘uhm… no.’ A friend of mine had a house up there even before I started cycling Although, it was her parents’ house And that house played a huge part because we were on a little ride one day and had stopped somewhere for a small picknick somewhere on a small hill, enjoying the view and at a certain moment a guy on a racing bike passed us by Who radiated so much power. I can still imagine him: red shirt, hands on the handlebars And suddenly I knew: That’s what I want to do It already was a long-cherished dream and by then I was around 27 But then I knew, I’m going to go through with it Then I bought my own race bike and mapped out my own time trials in Amsterdam And that’s when it changed into something serious That’s why the Cevennen and cycling are very strongly connected I am very curious to see if our presence here in this region, seeing the surroundings, being in the Cevennen if it adds something to the experience of reading the book Or if it demystifies – Yes, exactly That’s what Ducrot meant. That he didn’t think much of it in real live What I’m curious about if wether or not the book is still relevant for the younger generation Tim said it was. According to him al young riders get the book as a present for their birthday Tim called the book un everseller Not a bestseller, but un everseller But I’m just very curious – Nice, I’m excited man. Damn I can recall even that moment vividly. I always wrote in my cycling journals about races I could ride I was always looking for stages that would perfect for me to ride I pretty soon discovered the Tour de Mont Aigoual that was, in so many ways, very suitable for me Because I played an important part in it, but hadn’t won. Because you can’t write such a book about a race you won yourself 11×30, 36×30 He only did 43×20 as the lightest My back hurts by only thinking about it Only one piece with vigs is already 1400 calories There are six bars in it It wasn’t that dum Four in my pocket and one… whoops How many kilometers in total? – 137 kilometers today Starting in Meyrueis then a loop, back to Meyrueis and another loop, with the Mont Aigoual What is the most beautiful part, Lau? – I think the first 30 kilometers It’s all beautiful, but the gorges are awesome and the Tarn is absolutely fantastic But then you’re on some desolate, windy highland that’s also descriped in the book And then there is a pretty nice descent with panoramic views Then you come back in Meyrueis. Little bakery Oké, fun to ride, but where’s the restaurant? – In the first loop I like it that you’ve been here before On the second loop, when you’re in Tréves – Trèves Than you get a very long climb.To Camprieu And on that climb you won’t come across a single car Pretty cool What’s the hardest climb? The one from Trèves is like 20 kilometres climbing, that’s pretty far of course Eventually you’re going to run out of gas But the first one, in Les Vignes, is probably the hardest This is the last corner: 40 kicks on the 53×13 That’s where the finish would be – Yes, I’m ready I am curious, I’m going to count One Two Three Nine, ten, eleven This is where we had a beer yesterday – 22, 23, 24 26 36 38 Ho – Bam, here’s the line Must be Well, we’ve explored it – And then we rode on through over the finish

and turns over there, very exhausted You sprinted like a jackass – Yes…exactly! Hey, my wheel is first in the Tour de Mont Aigoual Hey Lau… who was that rider who went for it too early? The pitiful demarrage? Yes, what was his name? -Sauveplan That’s me baby, bye When this book was published, it was instantly populair In the circles of young sports loving students, you could say I was like: finally a good novel. And I studied Dutch Which I thought was hard, because I had to read a lot of books that didn’t interest me And then there was ‘The Rider’ A book about things that interested me in a way that enticed me My friends as well That legitimizes in a way you wanting to buy a race bike and starting to cycle In those days it was pretty abnormal People played soccer, or hockey or fencing You wouldn’t ride It was something you watched, but it was something from another world ‘The Rider’ broke with all of that For me, Tim Krabbé was one of the reasons I started cycling Because what he wrote, touched me deeply I thought it was very raw and heroic at the same time So riding appealed to me because of that I used to ride stages with his sentences going through my mind I was very interested in riding. So when I studied in Utrecht, I visited Fred Snel A known name in Utrecht There you could find the bicycles of the pro’s One of those bikes was blue en had the word ‘Snel’ on it. That wasn’t so cool and it had the words ‘Campagnolo Super Record’ on it Well, I stood like I couldn’t afford the bike, first I had to work some more But under the bike, in the shop window, there was a book there ‘The Rider’ 44 years, that’s how long is has been My birthday is on April, 8 1978 and that was the first year I started cycling at ‘De Volharding’ Certainly at the start of a stage, when my wheel was first for a second I always thought about what Tim wrote ‘Now my front wheel is first in the Tour de Mont Aigoual’ Even to this day, when I ride a beach stage, I still do it And when someone breaks away right from the start, I think logical: ‘Let them go, they’ll be back soon.’ But there’s also a little voice inside me that says: damn, now I haven’t been first in this race yet That little voice is never going to leave, I think When The Tour was on, we followed it closely We couldn’t understand the riders over there They were boys from Brabant. Farmers sons modest people, so to speak. Those were there practioners of the sport They were pretty tough people We should stop here and make a reservation, otherwise there’re fully booked This is the best restaurant of the region Hello Hello Excuse me Is it possible to make a dinner reservation fo tonight? Yes, yes We can? 4 people, 8 o’ clock Outside of inside? Inside? Perfect Appetizers on the terras, eating inside It’s a region that’s full of smells that make us Dutch long for the summer vaction It’s just that kind of place abandoned villages unwashed Frenchmen In America you have the Heartlands The Cevennen is the Heartlands of France

It’s really rough terrain There is the Lot river up north, and the Tarn passing through The mountains here are made out of air and lie upside down in the landscape That’s not that rare, but Normally you would ride up and down on a mountain And here it’s the other way around It’s just an amazing story I’ve always resited that it’s a sports book ‘The Rider’ is about a cycling race, with some digressions It’s not about the humans species or something, it’s just about a cycling race The special thing about it, is it has no excuse for only being about cycling Most books about sport were supposed to have a social context or a deeper meaning My book is only about the cycling race I rode When a good writer embraces the sport, it also is a recognition for that sport In the Netherlands there was a sports section in the literature but it wasn’t taken seriously by great writers or literature I meant it as an ordinary novel, with a strange subject, but never as a sports novel What is also was, of course In the beginning I declined interviews for sports magazines For the first year the book was published It was just a novel When I studied Dutch at the university, you couldn’t talk about The Rider You were then viewed as a simple sports magazin reader If you did, it meant you didn’t take literature seriously I loved it, and I read those sports magazine by the way, so they didn’t take me serious anyways But The Rider was viewed as little sports novel I believe sport is viewed differently after The Rider Sport was taken more seriously afterwards A long time ago I wrote a piece about how sports is missing in literature It’s just not there Certainly in the 70’s and 80’s, there no characters in a novel who watched a soccer match in a stadium Or went to watch a cycling race It simply did not exist And then came this But it took some time to be accepted Kilometre 17, still 120 to go So we stop after 17 kilometers? Why? Because you can sit on a terrace and watch vultures Let’s do it I want to tell you what grasped me in the book. You attacked earlier today and I believe Tim attacked here once and Barthélemy brought him back but then a few good riders attack, one of wich is the rider from Cycles Goff And some more And you know it’s not the best escape, but still I thought: damn, I’m not one of them Eventough it’s doomed to fail He describes that perfectly His thought and doubts always come back and that’s important That doubt is always there Even with an attack that’s doomed to faill, you feel like shit The rider from Cycles Goff attacked early on as well, right? -Yes He did it again later on, what wasn’t necessary, but still The doubt and frustration And in his case, when you don’t have a team around you that can close the gap zeker in zijn pallet om kan me voorstellen als je gewoon geen ploeg We’re saying it wrong One more time, please? Very important

From now on we’re saying it like this The rough mountains of the Cevennen, they are quiet and majestic And the bizarre at times. And the highlands are very beautiful It is a really lovely cycling area Beautiful, isn’t it? A lot of bike packers Kilometer 31. A sign: Les Vignes. At the crossing by the bridge is a gendarme pointing to the right Right turn, over the bridge. I buckle and shift to my inside ring, other chains rattling around me Anyone still on his outside ring when the hill starts is in for trouble They’ll have to shift on the climb: when you do that, the chain clutches at thin air for a second In the worst of cases popping across the sprocket like a machine gun and throwing you of balance To the right. A five-kilometer climb to the Causse Méjean. I’ve dropped back a little I’m in the middle of the peloton Twenty riders in front of me now, a whole road full I pick out Lebusque, a hang-glider among starlings The worst gaps arise during climbs. I have to work my way up to the front Weaving back and forth, I search for openings. Panic that they’re going to leave me behind I still can’t feel my pedals I’ve ended up at the front of our half-jump-drained peloton. Third position That’s where I’m staying; the two guys in front of me are going fast enough After a while it dawns on me who they are: Lebusque and Kléber, side by side Gradually I find a cadence. Climbing is a rhythm, a trance You have to rock your organs’ protests back to sleep That’s what we have to deal with, man -43×18 On a bike your consciousness is small. The harder you work, the smaller it gets Every thought that arises is immediately and utterly true, every unexpected event is something you’d known all along but had only forgotten for a moment A pounding riff from a song, a bit of long division that starts over and over A magnified anger at someone, is enough to fill your thoughts During the race, what goes around in the rider’s mind is a monolithic ball bearing, so smooth so uniform, that you can’t even see it spin Its almost perfect lack of surface structure ensures that it strikes nothing that might end up in the white circulation of thought Almost nothing, that is Sometimes a microscopic flaw still manages to strike a chord Battoowoo Greekgreek… I really said that during tours Battoowoo Greekgreek, think about nothing That’s the metaphor for thinking about nothing. Just focus on the pain Just one pedal after the other Tim talks about consciousness reflexion That’s not how I experienced it I thought it was a very broadening experience I became transparant and the more pain I had, the more I took in of the surroundings When I learned to ride, I often thought: Yes, that’s what he was writing about And when I suffer pain, there’re no thoughts, my mind is nothing more than a ball that spins With chess there’re multiple tentacles of thoughts, with cycling it’s a ball I don’t think when I ride. You do -Yes, that’s true. When I’m training When I’m riding I think about pretty much everything You say: we can talk about it when we’re riding No

I can’t have a conversation And he gives himself calculations. Can you calculate when you’re riding fast? No When I’m riding with 300 watt that’s not possible anymore It’s a known phenomenon But when we’re riding together over here, I can still make some equations Asshole He said certain things ‘I have to have strong arms, so I can grab hold of the handlebars and pull myself up I look at my sweaty wrists that lay on the handlebars like brown slats I have very nice wrists.’ That almost makes me cry. That’s so beautiful Working together on this segment. Except Reilhan, he didn’t take over I’m doing a Reilhan in a moment Reilhan again doesn’t take over. And Lebusque got a flat tire Yes But we haven’t seen the last of him yet I’m taking advantage of his reserves Oh is he again wheelsucking? Look, here is Rieisse That’s the name of the village The name of the village Col the Rieisse isn’t indicated, that’s a bummer Because in the book… he says What does he say again? ‘I’m attacking? No, that reduces my opportunities.’ Good conclusion Pretty tough route it is Tough climb, against the wind on the plateau If Tim had eaten this during the race, he would’ve won This pounder was out of stock yesterday Just said: If Krabbé had eaten this pounder during the race, he would’ve won I learned a lot from Tim his writing He leaves out as much as possible I once wrote a piece and he would ask: Why is something ‘blood red’ or ‘badly needed’ Then I would explain myself and he would say: ‘But it’s still a cliche and woolly and redundant.’ If you want to say something is striking red, you have to describe it in a different way All of his books are written in a certain staccato style All the sentences are stripped of frills And every sentence is very impressive that way A hundred meters in front of us, a group is standing along the road. They see us They crouch down a little, a smile of collective pleasure appearing on their faces I look at a girl in the group. She’s sixteen, she’s pretty ‘Allez, les sportifs,’ she shouts. ‘Un deux un deux.’ Why is she shouting that? She knows Hinault fell into a ravine, but not the names of the classics he won Classics? She has no idea what a forty-three nineteen is but she knows the expression ‘those crazy guys on their weird vehicles’ She’s the generation that no longer cheers for the riders, but for the journalistic cliché she recognizes in them Now that I’m five centimeters closer, I can see how pretty she really is. I hate her She belongs to the generation of emblems. She thinks I got my bicycle out of that cement mixer that it’s an emblem I use to identify myself as a proponent of the fitness rage like her, with her sweatshirt with the TRAINING decal on it OK, she’s not wearing it right now, but I’m sure it’s hanging in her closet If she has a bicycle, it’s definitely a ‘ten-speed’; if she ever rides it, then it’s in the lowest gear possible hands down on the bottom of the bars I hate her Never will I be able to make clear to her that I don’t race because I wanted to lose weight because turning thirty horrified me, because I was dissatisfied with café life

because I wanted to write this book, or because of anything else at all but simply because it’s road racing Really, if I want that pretty girl to understand me, there’s only one thing I can do become champion of the world OK, one more thing about the tour, it was hard for me Mainly the two climbs out of the gorges, that were some serious climbs Just completely broken When you said you wanted to stop and just go to the cabin and suggested we spread the stage over two days because we’re stopping so often I didn’t mind it at all How great is it to be here when you’ve read the book? It really makes the experience of the book greater I really hope on the Aigoual we have a bit of fog and rain So we can use the line This rain has been here for over a hundred years and we rode into it Great line You probably didn’t read it when you were reading the race report You were like: This is where he lost the stage This is where he lost the stage. When the best climber says to take it easy, you have to push through Whoppa Sorry man, you were delicious We’re researching why ‘The Riderr’ is the best cycling book there is We talked to writers about it, who all had their own stories to tell But there’s also a second question: how timeless is the book? Do younger riders still read it? Is it a birthday present when you turn thirteen and want to be a cyclist Tell us, did you read it Yes, of course. Probably three times I don’t know when exactly, but probably what Lau said, at the age of 13 DId you read it for your final exam? Yes, for sure It was one of the few books I’d actually read and could talk about in length We’ve noticed some people read it as a match report. How did you read it? I didn’t read it only a report of a match. I could recognize a lot of the things he writes about And I read it for the beautiful stories When you see your sweaty wrists when you’re climbing, for instance Nice, isn’t it? Or when you’re in pain and try to do a simple equation, you simply can’t do it You can entertain yourself for hours that way And the first sentence of course -Yes, that fantastic Meyrueis, Lozère, June 26, 1977 Hot and overcast I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together Tourist and locals are watching from sidewalk cafés Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me Oh Tim. The dedain and how delicious It’s true though. He told us he lived like a hermit back then and lost the connection with non-racers What shall we do? One bread and one baquette, please Croissant? -No, no croissaints That’s not how we roll You can’t find it more local than this Thank you very much Is this local? -Yes Is it good? -Yes Thank you. Bye That store made me happy. Did you see the paté?

Nice steaks I’m so hungry I wanted to get some bread in the morning, and he insist on joining me to the supermarket He can’t help himself. He’s addicted to supermarkets He strolls with a little basket -My mother did the same thing That’s allowed, of course Now I’m setting the table. Where’s the honey? Don’t act that way, you’re not at home. I’m the boss over here Tess will say when she sees this: wish you would do that when you’re at home I now know your way of handling things annoys me And still I can laugh about it. I shouldn’t laugh about it Dude, what are we going to do today? We’re going to attack a KOM What KOM? Col d’Uglas, of course The most known unknown col of the Cevennen I called the d’Uglas the quadratic mountain, because it’s 5,6 km long with an average of 5,6% incline You can ride it an on outside ring My first impulse to cycle originated there I climbed it for years to see how fast I could do it. I started at 22 minutes Eventually I could do it somewhat faster than 15 minutes I looked it up at Strava. 5,47 km That’s beautiful: 5 kilometers and 470 meters An average of 6% The time to beat: 14:56. That’s Tim Krabbé his personal best in June 1978 He rode it on June 30, 1978. That’s four days after the Mont Aigoual All I see is ‘Thijs Zonneveld, recon 15:15.’ Very impressive, for a recon My time is now 17:30 Already 2:30 minutes slower than Thijs So there’s work to be done I know a few people who climbed it faster than 15 minutes, even below 14 And I’ve always been very curious what God could do on that mountain So that’s up to Laurens The record of d’Uglas is set by Thijs Zonneveld. 13:16 I’m going to shift to the outside ring number 19. Same gear as Tim When he rode his personal best Now it’s all or nothing Hi Come on. Very good Come on Very good Riding on the big ring is hard We have to have a tactical meating when we’re up there -Caffeine pil? Give the guy a pill How do you feel? – Fine, but tactical meeting up there Of course The dilemma: or we after Thijs his KOM, or we aim for the Strava KOM When I go all in for Thijs’ KOM, there’s a chance I blow myself up and we have to come back tomorrow But the Strava KOM is doable? -Yes, that’s doable Don’t know about Thijs’ KOM and going all in Damn, what’s up with that guy? Back in 2004 I rode with a French team and won some races It wasn’t a big deal, but the local papers wrote about it Tim had read that article en wrote me an e-mail about it So one morning, sitting in my little French appartment, I receive a mail from Tim Krabbé How great is that? In ’43 Wielerverhalen’ he writes a lot about Col d’Uglas and climbed it many times Something like Strava, but before Strava Just to improve his personal best He always wondered what a good rider could do on that climb and if he could beat his time So he asked me if I wanted to try it If I wanted to come up there and try to beat his time I went up there and we trained together and I climbed the Col d’Uglas Obviously with a standig start and not behind a camera car

Damn, you’re fast Still 15 seconds ahead of KOM You’re still gaining ground You’re fast Jezus christ Dude, you’re going 26, 27 Best time ever on the d’Uglas. No one ever rode faster All you have to do is keep up the pace Few minutes and you’re done. Than we’ll have a picknick, man This is where you excel, when it hurts 350 meters, come on Jezus christ 12:48 dude. Damn Bizzare man This one’e for you, Tim Did you read ‘The Rider’? Yes, I was sucked into it It really conveys what it means to be a rider, in what kind of universe you live Basically you live in a bubble For a rider cycling is his whole world, but it really doesn’t matter that much In ‘The Rider’ it isn’t that important but let’s be honest: Tour de France isn’t that important. We make it important And the book captures that perfectly Were you happy in the final of a stage? -Yes, of course It’s fantastic. Your consciousness narrows and in the end that’s all there is Once, in the Vuelta, I rode up front with two other guys. They were climbers That has been the only time I really experienced ‘the flow’ during riding I wasn’t on earth anymore, so to speak It was like I was in a tunnel and I couldn’t hear anything anymore I couldn’t feel any pain Were you or were you not able to solve a simple equation in that moment? No, that’s not possible anymore at that moment When you’re watching the news as a commentator you might think: man, how can you be so stupid? But you just can’t think straight anymore And you can’t calculate 13×12 A mandatory book to read for every young rider? No But it’s well worth reading Somewhere he writes about Lebusque that all he wants to do is ride very fast The difference between riding fast and winning a race is very important People don’t get it. You can see it in the Tour de France The autonomy of the riders is restricted Because they have to operate within a team. That causes a predictable tour You ruin the young riders who can win a tour in a million different ways that way But they come up with one and that has to be the way to do it The book showes us there’re a lot of possibilities to choose from How you can have a setback, while you were winning And when he has a setback: ‘I look like a big duck with large flat feet.’ And then Lebusque catches up with him and understands the rider has lost his mojo

but they can’t let Reilhan win, so they have to screw him over together Fantastic You won’t see something like that in cycling today Now they’re like: stay put, wait Where have your balls gone? The sad thing is, once they’re gone, they won’t grow back That books shows what it means to have balls in a stage They discoverd how to ‘live slow’ over here Kilometre 104. I’m on Kléber’s wheel. Reilhan took off too soon, he is not gaining any more ground Now Reilhan is going to be crushed Ten meters behind him, Kléber accelerates again I’m on his wheel Reilhan can’t keep up with us The race is being decided here In a flash, I look back. Only Reilhan, thirty meters behind us now, then nothing. No Lebusque Lebusque couldn’t even answer Kleber’s first jump Kléber hammers away; this is looking like a full sprint He shifts and I shift But it is nothing more than a push of the lever: things here don’t get around having names Pam! People along the road – the line must be up there Things here don’t get around having names You just past that part like it is nothing I know, but I’m more interested in the race than the book Camprieu. And back out of Camprieu There’s the hundred-meter downhill stretch I’ve been longing for for the last forty-five minutes Been racing for three and a half hours, one to go: Kléber and Krabbé up front ‘Easy now’ Kléber hisses. Aha, that’s a relief I ease off a little I think if Tim would have continued riding fast at that moment Reilhan never could have make it back to him That’s what you were thinking about just now? No, not just now. When I read the book It’s one long story of self-victory It starts pretty quickly. I don’t think he’s going to make it today A bit overambitious and pretty early on he’s suffering He tries to mask it and sees others are suffering as well. But the demise is there You think: Come on, man As a reader you’re strong mentally and think: go to the place in your mind where you’re strong He does it eventually And the first time I got on a bicycle, I noticed how difficult it is How difficult it is to overcome your own demise I heared from people who still ride with Tim today, he still is resilient That man is 78 now, but still very hard to drop All thanks to how strong mentally he is and that’s what you read in the book also Here it is. Monte d’Aigoual. 6,7 kilometers -4% Look at the road We’re already climbing for 20 kilometers before reaching this point. But the Tour comes from that direction New asphalt, they always renew the roads for the Tour What comes before this one? The Luzette? -Yes But we’re both That direction Mont Aigoual consists of three parts We did the first one Two to go It rains here a lot but when you’re a raindrop and you fall on the south side of the mountain top you’ll end up in the Mediterranean Sea And if you fall two inches to the north side, you’ll end up in the Atlantic Ocean You’ll have a totally different live OK, the race Suddenly he knows. There’s going to be an attack, but he decides when It’s like you don’t want to come out of bed in the morning

but your body suddenly made the jump en decided for you This is where Tim was first. This part Our executioner From the Netherlands. Difficult stage it was The executioner came back later on That book really layered over it and it always stayed that way That romantic part of cycling It was a force in the peloton that wasn’t normally there, but is very essential for the experience of being a rider Every rider must deal with pain and the way you explain things to yourself determines what you’re going to do If you’re struggeling and think you’re going to die, you won’t attack He describes all of it ‘All pain turns to pleasure after the finish.’ That kind of remarks What’s your most natural reaction when you see an enemy lying on the ground? Get him on his feet If you’re a cyclist you kick him to death You have to leave the deeper things alone. If you write well, those layers will be added automatically Just like the people will find a café that’s good The whole book is filled with Nietzsche… the urge to live Unbridled zest for life Every good book is driven by the story. All the other layers must casually make their way into it And the book must give you the opportunity to place those layers yourself I’m sure ‘The Rider’ says some deep things, but what those are? Not a slightest idea In one tour, he describes a single live That single race you could say it’s a completed live On July 10, 1960, Roger Rivière came up this same road Rivière was twenty-four years old, had already been World Pursuit Champion a few times and was the future winner of no fewer than four Tour de France The 1960 Tour de France would going to be the first He was already number two in the general classification, with a marginal lag behind Nencini At the top of the Col de Perjuret, Rivière shifted down and began on the descent that would have been a right turn for Lebusque and me The Col de Perjuret is a meaningless col. Rivière descended on Nencini’s wheel He missed a curve, it’s as simple as that He tumbled headfirst over a wall and floated through the air A man’s brain keep working while he’s floating through the air Rivière is floating there magnificently All his responsibilities are behind him Now it’s up to the powers greater than his to decide what’s going to happen Rivière fell fifteen meters. He landed in the bed of a little stream covered in dead leaves He remained lying there perfectly still, his back broken His head, on those dead ferns, is glistening with sweat, his right hand is tucked onder his cheek his left eye is open: it has seen everything from the change of a wheel up to and including death They say that afther his accident Rivière was as cheeful as ever He died of cancer at forty He was born for bad luck Nencini is pushed aside as a regular champion by our beloved Tim Krabbé, but he was a great champion I want to make note of it: he was the absolute best descender of the peloton And he descended so fast, that Riviére had to follow, because Nencini had the yellow jersey He started as the big favorite, but took to much risk In memory of Roger Rivière. Tour de France 1960 We’re 5 kilometers before the finish We recommend everybody to visit this place of the brewer of Jonte The brewers of Jonte The beer is brewed with water from the river It’s so nice, just sitting here. Babbling of the creek You think we’re going to make it to the finish today? -I hope so Let’s sprint for it Are we going to cook or to a restaurant? -Restaurant Tim Krabbé would have cooked his own dinner #whatwouldTimhavedone?

Where’s Lau? Bye Dude! You dirty Dirty backstabber You’re a jackass. You sprinted like a jackass. What’s true He’s gearing is too big Lebusque want’s to help and goes past him, but has to force himself. So you already know it’s doomed. Certainly when you have to sprint for a long time Do I shift, shall I sit? Just do something. But no, he stacks one mistake after the other I was just thinking of that part in the book, where he’s talking about people that say ‘Let’s cross the finish line together.’ Tim had his opinion about that, right?! You are a genuine Reilhan, you Good evening. How are you? What did you think of it? -Nice man Can I say one thing? I fell in love with the Cevennen The highlands, rough terrain, low on tourists, magnificent cycling Great food -Those little rivers The trout comes directly out of those little rivers We ate those fish. 5 out of 5 stars. But that’s not why we got here Why was this book so great? I think I know why -Can I answer that? Sure. Sure Well, on the back of this book it says: ‘Tim Krabbé felt it, he experienced it.’ ‘De Kneet’ I read this book when I was fourteen for the first time I started cycling when I was sixteen, so I must have been fourteen when I read this As a child I was fascinated by demanding sports and suffering pain and all Gert-Jan Theunissen was my hero So in a way Tim Krabbé is a hero of mine, because he finished second in the tour of the Mont Aigoual A classic in the South of France. He had driven 300 matches already He really was a role model for me You know why I think it’s such a success worldwide? Because everyone who sat on a bicycle before and went fast with a heartbeat of, let’s say, higher than 165 bpm recognizes himself in at least one aspect of the book Wether it’s a professional rider who reads it for the match report or is it someone who -An amateur someone with a cycling group that rode ones a week and wanted to be the first to reach the bridge Or stabs his friend in the back and wants to win the sprint The price is divided at the finish Everyone recognizes one thing of it and the crazy part is, it’s a book of only 140, 134 pages Every sentence is spot on Whether it’s in the descripton of suffering or pain and an philosophical insight Or maybe it’s in the anecdote from the cycling history or just the match report Everybody can recognize himself in it and it ‘s very tightly written It’s like reduced gravy and you know those are the best ones We saw the very first manuscript, right? -With surgical precision Yes that’s real craftsmanship He has rewritten the book with me in it And at my farewell party as a professional cyclist he read it to me That was really special for me So he cannot go wrong for you anymore No, that was really special to me And Tim, he read that part to me at my farewell party That was special right? He starts at km seventy-two, I think it was about three pages And at some point the rider from Cycles Goff changes in to me It was really special! You’re in the book The Rider man! Yes And now we are on the finish line Let’s drink a beer -And now it is finished Strange, how does he know my name?

And did I hear few Dutch words? Are you Dutch, I ask him? Not yet, he responds What do you mean, not yet? Do you still have to be neutralised or something? Kind of yes, I have yet to be born I have to let that sink in a little bit Almost forty years old and yet to be born? I heard you think, that you will later write about me Do you know the Rider? The Rider? No Does not ring a bell, what is it? A book, oh man such a good book! It is a masterpiece and you are going to write it, about this race I will decide what I write myself But in the back of my head something is boiling Maybe not a bad idea A book about the Tour de Mont Aigoual Yeah for sure dude, Tim has indirectly helped me pass my Dutch Final exams I was telling nonsens about a book that I hadn’t read And then came the rider, a book I did read And I could allot about that one In’s and out’s, figures of speech, left right and thats how I got a B minus on my Dutch Exam