It was 330 of seemingly unending kilometers... In the Valenciennes region we rodeAndrea Tafi, the last Italian to win the Ronde (2002):
over a track that had been totally ravaged by the tanks. We just stopped counting our punctures.
Barry Hoban(raced against Merckx) winner of Gent-Wevelgem, and eight Tour de France stages when asked what it took to win Flanders:
There is one secret, stay up front at all costs. If you are in the back you
are able to recuperate but it will cost you dearly.
I raced Ronde eight times. It is not only a race, all of the surroundings are special. To think that it is the only race where the announcer at the start line begins speaking at six in the morning. And the gathering point in Brugge is in the middle of town that is like an enchanting castle. You think 'The adventure starts here.'
Heart! Strength and fitness. Flanders can be over before the first hill; the hills are just part of it, the wind, the rain, the cobbles and the tiny roads all make the race what it is.
Bernard Hinault rode it 1978 and never went back:
I told the organisers it wasn't a race but a war game. Instead of a race, it's a lottery.Oscar Freire:
Flanders is a special race where experience plays an important role. You have to know well the pavé sections.
Quotes: cyclingnews.com, pez, daily peloton.