"He must have been very romantic."
"Oh, no, not at all. He was romantic only with his bicycle. Claudine was the first girl. Claudine is very good for Eddy. Eddy has to worry only about the bicycles."
"The coach, is he important?"
"Not for Eddy," said the fourth person in the car, a wrinkled little man with bad teeth who was a friend of Van Buggenhout. "He is his own coach. Eddy is a, ah, nature—"
"Natural. Le Grand Merckx. The natural."
"What is it that separates him? Why is he so much better?"
"He has no weakness. He is not a real climber, but he climbs. He is not the strongest in the sprint, but he is very strong. Downhill, ah, a terrible d�scendeur."
"Fantastic. He is like a calculator. Once he was timed at 80 kilos an hour. That is 50 mph. What a discipline! The others do not know how to handle him. They try everything. They try to be naughty, to shut the door on him, and still he comes. They stay behind, make him set all the pace, and when he goes, they go. But when he goes, they are liable never to see him again.