derailleur is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Stage 1: Utrecht to Utrecht The road has a story yet to tell, & the riders like in a dream are held before a glossy field of red, the soft air pounded by amplified voices & music. They twitch on their sinuous machines, a countdown flashing on the bright wall behind them, & when they’re released, sparks sprout like trees to either side, so that the only way forward is down the ramp, onto streets of searing lungs & burning legs, the race fast & suddenly very real.
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