Each week during the TDF I will have a feature of some remarkable riders from my homeland who made a mark to Belgian racing, sometimes not generally known here in Ireland but local hero’s in the Flanders, and they all have something in common..being FLANDRIENS in heart and soul..My first feature is about a man who was born in the same province of myself (West Flanders) and retired of pro racing in 2005. Who is he you wonder..meet PETER FARAZIJN (49 years old) who rode the pro circuit as a very decent domestic with a attacking flair. Peter is now a bus driver for a living and his two children are racing, son Maxime as pro and daughter Leontine with the junior ladies. Peter was maybe not a born winner, but his guts and work in big races for his teams made him very appreciated and loved team mate for many riders in his racing days. Peter still very much seen at races in the homeland, with his 2 kids racing and also as VIP invite. One story need to be told about Peter, the Tour de France 2004, start in Liege( Luik for the Flemish) Peter was enjoying a car rally in Ieper when receiving a phone call from his DS from Cofidis to immediately drop everything and get asap to Liege for the start of the proloog of the Tour as one rider got an injury on the morning of the start…can you imagen..all riders had prepared for months to tackle the race in fine form, so within hours getting ready, driving to the other end of Belgium, and starting around 5pm the TT proloog is something you wouldn’t see now..especially with all the testing before hand and paper trails..He was allowed to substitute and went to finish the 2004 edition in 107th place overall..In that summer I went to his supporters club in Boezinge (if I remember rightly) while supporting my friends of the then called Decock-New Heebra team(A team I supported when I was a landlord in the coast area) and the beer was 1 euro while the rest of Belgian pubs charged you 1.45 euro..The land lady was wheelchair bound and very proud of her poulain, Peter’s photos been plastered all over the walls and his victory flowers dried and framed and the reason I got a lot of respect for such rider. Can you just imaging, you having a great time enjoying a beer on a summer day and been called up to do a 21 day stage race called the TDF…this really happened and therefore we have to say CHAPEAU Peter. Here a summary of his notable results courtesy of Wikepedia and photos taken from his facebook page, including a photo taken from a good friend and cycling photographer Roland Desmet ( https://www.bloggen.be/rodeden4 ) where you can find some amazing photos of Belgian racing, also thank you to foto coghe.
Pro team resume’
Peter with his daughter Leontine and Nico Matan( ex Gent-Wevelgem winner, now in the beer industry as sales PR)With son Maxime Farazijn (Top Sport Vlaanderen) who is a very respectable pro in his own right.