Last year, when I went to Paris-Roubaix, I brought all of you two gifts from my trip. The first, was the picture above, which showed the kind of reading material that race officials enjoy during the race while driving in the caravan. The second, was a sound file of that familiar car horn that so many of us equate with cycling, and the Tour in particular.
This year, during my trip to Belgium for the Tour of Flanders, I picked up another similar souvenir for all of you. This time, rather than a picture or a simple sound file, it's a song. Yes, a song. While I've proudly shared Colombian songs about cycling with you before, it somehow seems to be that when other countries do it, things go horribly wrong. Maybe I'm biased (I'm sure I am actually), but please listen to the song below and tell me what you think. The name of it is "We're Clean, Clever, and Competitive", and it was written for the Willems-Accent team, which competed in the Tour of Flanders this past weekend. Based on the song, one would certainly assume that they were clean, clever, and competitive during the race. In a way, I suppose it was only a matter of time before a song like this surfaced, since merely stating that you're clean is not enough. I can only say that in the future, when a test for clever-enhancement drugs is found, I hope we don't suddenly realize that these guys were not really clever all along. I can just see the headline in L'Equipe now: "Ten-year old samples tested, team was not clever on its own. Pharmaceutical help was used to enhance cleverness. Competitiveness also questioned." I'll be crushed.
But really, I can't blame the team for releasing this song...because times have changed. First, the public merely took cyclists' word as fact regarding them being clean. Then, tests were put into place. Not content, fans wanted more proof. It was at that point that Damiano Cunego fired up the Hewlett Packard ink-jet printer that came free with his Gateway 2000 computer, and allowed his half-blind niece to cut-out the makeshift stick-on tattoo (which he adhered with glue stick). Because... you know, nothing says commitment like an ink-jet printout glued to your arm, once hidden by your arm warmers.
Those were the days, I tell you. The days when a simple printout made cycling fans happy...but that sort of tactic simply wont do today. No. Much like a high school thespian, who can't help himself and must thus burst into song every hour on the hour, the Belgian Willem-Accent team has decided to burst into song... leaving the rest of the world to cringe collectively. Unlike the Chicago Bears, who stepped up and sang The Superbowl Shuffle all by themselves, Willem-Accent decided to outsource their musical outburst. While higher in musical quality than The Shuffle (that's what industry insiders like me call the 1980s masterpiece), the drums at the beginning of We're Clean, Clever and Competitive (which easily could have been the name of a Youth Of Today song), are oddly similar. Is it the absolute worst song in the world? No. Is it the worst song about a Belgian team being clean, clever and competitive, sung by a guy from Rwanda who sounds like he's whispering while sitting on a washing machine? Well, yes...but its also the best, since it's the only one. But it's really not the worst song ever. Certainly not, I mean, the band Toto deserves credit for something in this world.
But when he rhymes "collected", with "connected", and those Wilson-Philips keyboards start playing, I tear up. I think you will too.
Lastly, I should say that I'll have a proper post about my trip up in the next couple of days, since I know that you are all eagerly awaiting my take on the race and surrounding festivities. Fear not my friends, I will not let you down. I will remain clean, clever, and competitive. This much I know.