Johan Museeuw may have been the cobbled Classics star of his time, racking up three wins each in Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, but his backside got the challenge of its 51 year life as part of a week-long Belgium-wide charity event known as De Warmste Week, where he and other cyclists pedaled for 24 full hours on stationary bikes at the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen in Oudenaarde.
The week of action raises money for a wide variety of charities and non-governmental organisations. Museeuw rode for the Flemish Refugee Action NGO, starting from 10am on Wednesday.
With just under 22 hours done, Radio 2 Oost-Vlaanderen checked in on the "Lion of Flanders", according to Sporza.be, and he admitted he went through a rough patch. "Between 4 and 5 o'clock it was super hard and I thought, this it not for me anymore, I want to lie down on the couch," Museeuw said.
"I've been thinking a lot on the bike," he added. "I think a lot about what is happening in the world, how wrong it is all going. This was a statement that we should try to do something about it. But in a sense it was also a personal challenge for me."
The hard part came in the wee hours of the night when most of the supporters left. "We have had fans here until 5am, and at one point there was even a party. The time passed quickly until everyone went home. But now we're back in good company for the last hour."
Museeuw climbed off having pedaled for some 415km on the stationary bike and headed for a well-deserved massage. When asked if he would repeat his stunt next year, he said no. "I am going to do a different challenge next year. I've underestimated this. A man is not made to sit on his derriere for 24 hours!"
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