The last time the Tour of Flanders was cancelled, the bullets were flying too low and the roads were so badly bombarded you couldn’t ride a bicycle on them. First run in 1913, the “Ronde” is famous for its cobbled hills and rough weather and has always attracted the toughest riders, baptised “Flandriens”. In that tradition of perseverance, no virus was going to spoil the fun. Instead, the Flemish tourism board “Visit Flanders”, its agency Bowling Brands, sound production company Het Geluidshuis and I got our heads together to create an audio version of this epic race.
With the imaginative powers of audio, the idea quickly evolved from a make-believe race to a full-blown audio drama about the race of all races, lining up all the champions this race has ever seen since its beginnings. A race in which Eddy Merckx would be up against Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara, three generations of Van Der Poel and some of the best female riders in cycling history. The situations are larger than life – with pile-ups so big a crane is brought in to clear up the mess – and throughout its 267 kilometers, over a hundred years of Ronde-anecdotes are woven into the storyline.
As a first step into the process, Dirk Van Nijverseel of race organizer Flanders Classics created a credible race outline. Then I turned it into a engaging audio story with humor, unexpected plot twists and unseen cycling heroism, directed by Koen Brandt. Koen and I have been producing best selling audio plays for over 15 years together. Famous cycling commentators Rob Hatch and Matt Stephens commented, some actual riders made a cameo appearance and a voice actor imitated some of the old champions.
The one hour race was conceived, scripted, recorded and edited in two languages in a record time of 10 days, with all the confinement restrictions as an extra barrier. If that isn’t the true Flandrien spirit! The Flemish version, directed by actor/director Tom Van Dyck was broadcast on national radio the weekend of the race and the English version can be found here.
Written by Paul Wauters, Eardrum Europe