In Black-and-White: Conclusions of the Amateur World Championships

From Thursday 28 to Sunday 31 August Ljubljana hosted the World Cycling Championships for amateurs.

Some personal conclusions from the championships:

Amateurs take their cycling much more serious than professionals.

You are never too old to:

– Ride the newest and most expensive bikes

– Suffer

– Fall

– Fight

– Win

– Ride fast

– Be fanatic

The level of racing was sometimes close to professional.

There are too many world champions cycling.

– Only one man can be the best cyclist in the world, but for adult men there are UCI rainbow jerseys in the categories (Under 23 years, Professionals, under 35 years, under 40, under 45, under 50, under 55, under 60, under 65, above 65.

And then we have para cycling world championships, military world championships, world championships police cycling, the world medical cycling championships, the world championships for firemen and last but not least, of course, the world cycling championships for journalists, where I will participate from 3 to 7 September in Austria. Will the real world champion please stand up?

This is what Bert Bakker looks like from the front. It's a rare sight for cyclists because we normally only see him from the back when he's riding in front. Bert Bakker is from Zaandam in the Netherlands, like I am. Twenty years ago we were riding for the same club. He was in his late thirties and he was riding fast. Now he's almost 60 and he is still riding fast. He became word champion timetrial in the 60-64 category.
This is what Bert Bakker looks like from the front. It’s a rare sight for cyclists because we normally only see him from the back when he’s riding in front. Bert Bakker is from Zaandam in the Netherlands, like I am. More than twenty years ago we were riding for the same club. He was in his late thirties and he was fast. Now he’s almost 60 and he is not much slower. He became word champion timetrial in the 60-64 category.
It hasn't been a good summer in Slovenia but during the four days of the World Championships there was plenty of sunshine. Here the sun peeps through the buildings in the centre of Ljubljana during the team relay race on Friday evening.
It hasn’t been a good summer in Slovenia but during the four days of the World Championships there was plenty of sunshine. Here the sun peeps through the buildings in the centre of Ljubljana during the team relay race on Friday evening.
There were 1500 cyclists from 43 countries participating in the world championships for amateurs. On this photo I could only count 30 riders, which is one 50th of the total number of cyclists in Ljubljana last weekend.
There were 1500 cyclists from 43 countries participating in the world championships for amateurs. On this photo I could only count 30 riders, which is one 50th of the total number of cyclists in Ljubljana last weekend.
For many of the foreign competitors it was the first time they visited Slovenia. Most were impressed by the scenery of places like this; the top of the first climb less than 30 kilometres from Ljubljana.
For many of the foreign competitors it was the first time they visited Slovenia. Most were impressed by the scenery of places like this; the top of the first climb less than 30 kilometres from Ljubljana.
Of all cyclists who passed by, this man was the only one who rode up the climb with a smile. And why wouldn't he? He is Gilberto Simoni and he won the Giro d'Italia twice. Simoni wasn't participating. He was a VIP and he was making an easy sunday morning ride.
Of all cyclists who passed by, this man was the only one who rode up the climb with a smile. And why wouldn’t he? He is Gilberto Simoni and he won the Giro d’Italia twice. Simoni wasn’t participating. He was a VIP and he was making an easy sunday morning ride.
Tanned muscled bodies on sophisticated new racing bikes. Only when the helmets were taken off and the grey hair was shown you could notice that most participants were already of respectable age.
Tanned muscled bodies on sophisticated new racing bikes. Only when the helmets were taken off and the grey hair was shown, you could notice that most participants were already of respectable age.
In Ljubljana 32 people became a world champion.
In Ljubljana 32 people became a world champion.

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