This month’s Hero post is about a rider who decided to prematurely end his successful career rather than partake in the doping practices so common in his time.
The rider I’m referring to is none other than Edwig Van Hooydonck, or as the tifosi knew him, Eddy Bosberg. A self-professed classics rider, Van Hooydonck was a constant, sensible, and solid talent. His four victories in the Brabantse Pijl, two wins in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (the first in his first year as a pro rider),
not to mention wins in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Dwars door Vlaanderen are worthy of any great cycling champion.
But as significant as his early wins may have been, they don’t accurately reflect the depth of talent Van Hooydonck possessed. EPO and it’s eager participants stole victory after victory from the increasingly frustrated Belgian. Had he not faced such insurmountable odds, Edwig’s wins would have clearly not ended with his final 1995 victory at Brabantse Pijl.
Although he was often teased by his Dutch teammates for being so mildmannered, Van Hooydonck’s perspective on cycling was that of a proper hard man, and it would come to almost prophetically define his cycling career all the way up to his too-soon retirement: “what appeals to me most about cycling is the way you have to fight against yourself, the not giving up and the battling to the bitter end. Not a single other sport has such a personal involvement.”
Contributed by Ray, On the Back Foot. Check out his awesome Instagram feed of cycling heroes which is really worth following. instagram.com/onthebackfoot/