Cycling is a very fertile sport in special places. Magical enclaves coined by tradition and recidivism that mutate into symbolic geographical icons. Places with their own soul. With a special atmosphere, overloaded with mysticism and epic. During the last Tour of Flanders U23, the Austrian Patrick Gamper was soaked in that essence.
The Polartec-Kometa cyclist, wearing the colours of his national team because it was a Nations Cup race, got into a breakaway and managed to climb the Kapelmuur at the head of the race. That slight curve on a steep slope, with the aesthetic chapel emerging in the background. And two cyclists, Gamper and his getaway partner Jon Bozic (Slovenia), managing their slopes. An authentic religious experience. Not for nothing, the Kapelmuur is a temple of cycling. For him, somehow, it was a dream come true. “Running one day in Flanders and Roubaix is my dream as a professional”, which I confessed on the team’s website.
“The Kapelmuur climb was certainly a sensational experience, but it was also strange because I only knew about the climb on TV,” Gamper explains of what he felt when he found the Geraardsbergen Wall. “It’s a unique moment. I felt very comfortable on my bike,” he recalls. “Although I didn’t get any results, it was a great experience. I love the classics and for the first time I saw all those walls live. I hope this wasn’t my last time in Belgium, because I think these races are a good fit for me. I have gained self-confidence and I hope to develop good performances in my next races. In the end, when there was no more tactics, only fullgas, I felt fine”.
Gamper is one of those chosen to represent the Polartec-Kometa in the Tour of Brittany from April 25th to May 1st. “It was very positive to look good in Flanders. After a difficult start to the season, I finally had the legs to be with the best. It was a tough race. I bet on the getaway, because that’s my style of racing. Go for the win or lose the race. After 110 kilometres of escape I stayed in the top 30 of the group, although I had cramping problems ten kilometres from the end and got off the ground. The Austrian would finish the thirty-second, just over two minutes from the winner in Oudenaarde, the Australian James Whelan. “I really liked running in Flanders”, says Gamper.