What is a Flahute? The type of rider who wins races where 125 riders start and one finishes—that’s a Flahute. A Flahute thinks the Tour de France is just a bunch of long training rides. A real race is one where it’s pouring rain, it’s cold, the roads are treacherous, and the prize list is about the same as your 8-year-old neighbor’s allowance. When you’re a Flahute, that’s racing.
To put it another way, if your cycling spirit dampens at the sight of rain, you sure as shoot ain’t a Flahute.
Flahute racers focus on such classics as the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, those tough northern classics filled with some of the worst roads and weather imaginable in bike racing. The only thing tougher than the races themselves are the guys that win them. They are the real Flahutes.
Riders like Eddy Merckx, who won 5 Tours de France and 5 Giros d’Italia, in spite of being a Flahute. Riders like Roger de Vlaeminck, who won Paris-Roubaix on 4 separate occasions. Riders like Andrei Tchmil and Johan Museeuw and Peter van Petegem. Riders like Rik van Steenbergen, Rik van Looy, and Briek Schotte. Jacques Anquetil knew better than to even try. Bernard Hinault was one of the rare Frenchman who could contemplate qualifying. Sean Kelly was the first (and only) Irish Flahute. Lance Armstrong doesn’t have the balls to be a Flahute (yes, pun intended).
Probably the best description of the Flahute that I’ve found is in Graham R. Jones’ article titled “Flahute and ‘The Lion of Flanders’”. Go read it, then report back here. More great descriptions of what makes a Flahute; this time in a two-part article on Walter Godefroot. Read part one and part two.