Belgium often gets a bad rap. Not without some justification. Geographically, its scenery isn't much to look at: mile upon mile of fields and farmland. Culturally, "name ten famous Belgians" used to be a popular parlour game (for those of us with parlours). Politically, Belgium is a basket case: it mostly doesn't have a government and one of its biggest parties has advocated for the abolition of the country itself.
But Belgium also does chocolate and beer (see Rouleur 20.2), mussels and fries, and some of the most visually welcoming city centres in the world.
More importantly than any of those pros and cons, however, is that Belgium is where the sport of cycling comes alive. Every spring, even as our attention is briefly stolen by exotic, southern locations, our affections are reserved for the racing that dominates March and April. The Monuments may provide the loudest fireworks but even the minor races go off with a bang. Morten Okbo waits by the side of the road.
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