BEAT is a gift from heaven

David Vlieghe

Pioneer David Vlieghe about his #RoadToBEAT

“It’s hard for an outsider to gain insight into the closed world of cycling, so BEAT Cycling Club is a gift from heaven.”

I’m David Vlieghe. I’m 22 years old and I live near the Belgian coast. For 10 years I’ve been crazy about cycling. I inherited the disease from my grandfather. In the place where I live, De Haan, my grandfather founded the first cycling club – one of those teams where the riders look forward to the post-ride bar visit more than the ride itself. As president, he was responsible for a lot of things, including the design of the cycling jerseys! Unfortunately, I was born too late to know my grandfather during that time.

We frequently watched cycling on TV together, though, and I loved those afternoons! I also learned everything about cycling from him: the types of tactics that are used, the leaders’ jerseys in different races (you know you’re getting old when you associate the Vuelta with a gold jersey) and how to recognize different riders. “That’s Thomas Voeckler! He always makes faces!” or “There, Cadel Evans! There’s nobody else who has such an ugly and crooked position on the bike.” (To be clear, I speak here about the pre-Froome era.) Unfortunately, I cannot spend these afternoons with him anymore. Nevertheless, watching cycling on TV remains my favorite pastime. The heroism, tactics, hardness, intrigue...there is no sport that has so much to offer!

It’s hard for an outsider to gain insight into the closed world of cycling, so BEAT Cycling Club is a gift from heaven.I first heard about it during the Six Days of Rotterdam, and I did not hesitate to become a pioneer and support this great initiative! It will be really interesting to see how this cycling club evolves from a “crazy idea” into a professional team. BEAT Cycling Club is to my knowledge the first large project that brings cycling to the fans rather than vice versa. Fantastic anyway!

So I hope that BEAT Cycling Club succeeds in its objectives, creating an innovative and talented professional team that will ride everyone else into the ground, but at the same time a warm and big club where fans with a passion for cycling can find each other and motivate each other in the pursuit of their own cycling goals.

I want to contribute to this effort and follow in the footsteps of my grandfather. But I also have a newfound enthusiasm for riding my own bike. This year I want to ride fast and a lot. My big goal is to ride the Tour of Flanders for cycling tourists in 2018 – in my BEAT jersey, of course.