Three kilometres from the finish, the race director’s car pulled alongside Durand. Eddy Mercxk leaned out of the window and said: Petit, tu as gagné le Tour de Flandres.”

And I believed him. When Eddy Merckx says you have won, it’s definitive. The final three kilometres were pure happiness. As I went under the flamme rouge I asked myself What is this?’ What is happening?’ There was no pain in my legs. When you ride the biggest classic in the world in the peloton, your legs hurt. When you’re about to win it, your legs stop hurting.”

August 20, 2012