How to Wear a Cycling Cap (Or Not): Edwig van Hooydonck
I liked watching Edwig in the races. When i couldn't do that, i liked reading about his efforts in the VeloNews. He was one of those hard men of the sport, the kind who excelled in the bitter races of Spring. I think what i liked best was that, when he was conquering the cobbles, i saw a bit of myself in him. A small bit. That crown of red atop his head made him stand out when in the bunch. Like me, he was tall and skinny. Only taller and skinnier. That gave me hope; if he could do it against the best pros, maybe i could do it against the best local amateurs.
an emotional Van Hooydonck after winning the Ronde Van Vlaanderen in 1989. Graham Watson photo [?]
Van Hooydonck seemed to favor headbands, really wide headbands. Or at least that is what i thought they were until i saw that photo below. I am not sure whether to be impressed with the DIY attitude, or shocked by the heresy.
During his relatively short professional career, Edwig won the Tour of Flanders twice (1989, 1991) with one additional victory there as an U23 racer, Brabantse Pijl four times (1987, 1991, 1993, 1995), the GP Eddy Merckx (1988), Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (1989), Dwars door Vlaanderen (1990), the Grand Prix d'Ouverture La Marseillaise twice (1991, 1992), among other one day races. He also captured stage wins in Vuelta a Espana, Ronde van Nederland, Vuelta a Andalucia, Tour Mediterraneen, Etoile de Besseges, Tour of Ireland, Tour de Romandie, and the Tour de Luxembourg.
At the time of his retirement he cited his inability to compete against riders who were, increasingly, turning to the use of performance enhancing drugs, without doing the same. "Integrity: A Personal choice, an uncompromising and predictably consistent commitment to honor moral, ethical, spiritual and artistic values and principles." In 2007 Van Hooydonck caused considerable stir by accusing still widely popular racer, Johan Museeuw, of systematic doping throughout his career.
At least one Keeper of the Cog has had an equal appreciation for Tall Ed, and you can read that short piece by clicking here.