A long road and a hard road lies ahead:
A Paris-Roubaix of the mind, a Ronde
Van Vlaanderen of the soul; all cobbles, mud,
Flat tyres and fractured frames; an Arenberg
To test the strongest limbs and stoutest heart.
A new Enfer du Nord that we must ride
For mile on bruising mile through choking dust
And bitter headwinds, with no victory lap
Or trophies waiting for us at its end.
I fear I do not have the legs for this;
Long miles and years have left me unprepared
In mind and body for this coming hell;
The broom-wagon is waiting on my wheel.
But tell me, then, what else I could have done:
I’ve ridden hard and clean and held my line
According to the code. I could not know
The commissaires themselves would shred the rules.
And so we wait now for the flag to drop;
Not knowing where to go, or when we’ll stop.