On Wednesday, the Tour of Burkina Faso got underway for its 19th edition in Africa, considered an annual celebration for the Burkinese people. Belgian rider Danny In 't Ven recalled his experiences from a previous edition: "Don't do anything crazy at the beginning of the race. Heat and dehydration are the number one enemy." As for the sprinters; "I am like a snail in sprints therefore I try and escape, but they are really fanatical here - they'd risk their life for 40th place."
As for the dangers coming from off the road, he said: "Unexpected road work, sheep, farmers with chickens on the bandwagon... what is abnormal to us is totally normal to these guys." And then after the day's racing is finished, there's an hour of ceremonies to go through, not to mention the food. "Rice... tomorrow we get muesli and fruit. And for the rest of the time rice; lots of rice. Sometimes there's some meat mixed in but we never know precisely what it is. Perhaps it's better that way."
Along with these hazards, there's the water, the long, hot days and the hotels riders stay in - but In 't Ven doesn't regret his experiences in Burkina Faso. This year's challenges don't look to be any different.