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Valentine’s Day

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Many would argue that Valentine’s Day is a contrived holiday designed to serve commercial/corporate interests aka sell shit, which duh, but everyone agrees that love as in True Love is a legitimate, intrinsic part of our shared human experience. For example, what about the time when Jasmine Vangrieken, the ex-podium hostess and competitive swimmer who, as you know, barely missed a spot on the Belgian Olympic team in 2000, and who starred/guested (as herself) on De Klas Van Frieda—The Class of Frieda, starring Belgian journalist Frieda Van Wyck, which is a popular game show on Belgian TV (Auto-Translate says: “In “The class Frieda ‘says Frieda Van Wyck each episode four famous Flemish questions. The four sit in pairs to a bank and take it in five rounds against each other. In the final examination of the challenged students of the smartest bench in the first two seasons among themselves who deserves the title of primus of the class. The winner got a pretty lousy price. In the third season, the winning duo plays together and at the end of the season a golden Frieda given to the best duo. In the fourth season playing the best duo of the season against the winning team of the previous season. In this season, the winning team gets a gold Frieda.”)—walked onto the infield of the Roubaix Velodrome in 2011 to congratulate her boyfriend on his first Paris-Roubiax First. At which point, even though and/or because Johan was covered in dirt and sweat and snot after being physically, emotionally and psychologically abused for five and a half hours in the greatest-most-cobbled cycling tournament in the world, which cycling tournament he won despite finishing on a flat, he said,  


And just like that, after seven years of dating, they were engaged. They were married October 27th, 2012 in the township of Lommel in the Vlaanderen region of Belgium where side note, Joann was born on February 4th in 1981, and where, second side note, World Famous DJ Buscemi was also born.22Before you ask, yes, Buscemi is named after Steve Buscemi, his favorite actor. Three years later, he’s still racing at the World Tour level on a bike with a 150mm stem, she’s now a successful local politician (who For The Record is possibly in some trouble regarding the “smuggling of a cell phone”), and they are as In Love today as ever before.


Take for example the Dubai Tour. Every morning rain or shine she walked him to work. Along the way they laughed and talked and smiled and giggled and made eyes at each other. At times along the way they would also stop to look at something together, or to kiss, or to gently and appropriately, though publicly and so possibly in the context of Dubai, illegally, touch each other. Sometimes, like the morning of the Individual Time Trial, they were also joined by his dad, who is a doctor. After she dropped him off at sign-in and wished him good luck at the start, she would get in a car, navigate the treacherous streets of Dubai to the finish area, and wait for him to finish, which he did on average 57.5 racers behind the leader. After the race they would hug and kiss and talk their way back to the team cars and eventually to their respective hotel rooms which hotel rooms may or may not have been the same hotel room. Manual for Speed would like to think they were.


We can’t be sure which came first—as in it would take too much internet research time, and we can’t be certain we’d ever actually find out like unequivocally anyway, and besides, raising the question is more dramatic—did Jasmine make her Twitter tagline/bio“life is the most spectacular show on earth” before she was proposed to in the middle of the finish area of the most visually compelling, and popular!, of the Spring Classics, or after? Either way, Manual for Speed could not agree more.

A Brief but No Less Illustrative List of Married Couples Whose Union by Definition Demonstrates the Highest Form of Love Within the Context of Professional Cycling: Racer & Podium Hostess

  1. George Hincapie – Melanie Simmoneau
  2. Gert Steegmans – Laura Leturgie
  3. Christophe Moreau – Emilie
  4. Pavel Tonkov – Daria Garcia
  5. Steven Cozza – Jen Caudill
  6. Martijn Maaskant – Lien Crapoen (They’re not married, but who’s counting?)
  7. Johan Vansummeren – Jasmine Vangrieken

A Notable and Heartwarming Love Story of A Different Kind, and But Also Featuring a Professional Cyclist: Tyler Hamilton Loved His Dog Tugboat.

After his (Tugboat’s) death during the 2004 Tour De France, Tyler began wearing Tugs’ dog tags around his own neck while racing, including in several Grand Tours.

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