The story of the $50 Viking horn that started the Tour of Flanders
The Tour of Flanders 2022. The starting line in Antwerp. Way too early on a Sunday morning for anyone to be anywhere but in bed. But that’s cycle racing.
Lotto Soudal swings straight from the river, comes within sight of the cathedral and is greeted by fans at De Ronde for the first time in two years.
Florian Vermeersch, the oversized yet babyface 23-year-old Paris-Roubaix vice-champion of the Belgian team, has something in his back pocket. He rolls onto the catwalk and retrieves the object he has carefully smuggled into the sign.
It’s a viking horn. He gives her a lung blast that ricochets down the street.
“HOOOOOOOOFFFF”, the crowd responds in unison. His teammates watch, a little puzzled. The Tour of Flanders is back.
But what is the story behind the horn? Where is he from? Is Florian Vermeersch okay?!
The answer, he explains, is quite simple.
“It’s a little nod to our sponsor Viking Lotto.”
“We describe ourselves as vikings today and we thought it was a fun thing to do, a bit of crowd interaction. It was really fun on stage.
Sure, it was fun, but it’s sad to see this seemingly spontaneous surge of unregulated fun being reduced to just an elaborate sponsorship activation.
But before labeling Vermeersch as a pure corporate accomplice, keep in mind the answer to this question: how is it that with riders like Victor Campenaerts and Tim Wellens in the team, it’s you who did you blow it all up?
“Because I bought it.”
“How much did it cost you? »
“It’s quite unique.”
At $50, you hope it was one of a kind.
“If we have a good result today he will have a place on the bus somewhere as a souvenir,” adds Vermeersch, clearly excited about his first Flanders in front of the fans, his dreams of riding cobbled climbs as a spectator being what kept him going. ‘has inspired. turn pro in the first place.
“I had goosebumps on the podium. Not just chill but fans,” he continued. “I imagine I’ll probably get goosebumps a few times.”
Will he take the horn with him in the race for a quick whistle on the Koppenberg?
“No, I don’t think so, it’s not very aero,” smiled Vermeersch. “I think Victor [Campenaerts] gonna punch me in the face.