Category: Sports

Tour of Flanders

What do you think is meant with “Flanders’ most beautiful”?

  1. a beauty contest to choose Miss Flanders
  2. a contest in the international Ghent Flower show
  3. a bicycle race

If you chose option 3 you are on your way of becoming a real Fleming. Every year, for more than 100 years already, a race is held under the name Tour of Flanders and every year about a million fans cheer their idols as they ride their race. This year it will be the first time that Antwerp hosts the start of this big event, and Antwerp is preparing itself for a great party. In 2015 Antwerp hosted the start of a stage in the Tour de France and 200,000 fans came to the city to greet their heroes. Even more people are expected this year on the 2nd of April.

The name Tour of Flanders is of course inspired on the Tour de France, but as Flanders is too small for a race in 20 stages, the race consists of just one stage, a good 200 km long, interspersed with nasty cobble stone passages, and near the end of the race some pretty steep climbs. These climbs cannot be compared to the Tourmalet or Mont Ventoux, but the climbs follow one another incessantly and each time it is a fight to be in front position at the start of the climb, so it may be clear that only a really strong rider can win this race.

The presentation of the participants and the preliminary start will be given at Steenplein, then the riders follow the quays until Brouwersvliet, where they turn right and then ride through the tunnel to the left bank, rather quietly at a modest speed, so that the people along the street can easily recognise the riders, but as soon as they reach the village of Burcht hell will break lose and after that the speed will never go under 40 km per hour anymore until they reach Oudenaarde for the finish.

Urban Trail

Sunday March 12, Antwerp will be a busy place, visited by thousands of runners, since the 5th edition of the Urban Trail will be run. 10,000 participants will run the 10 km long circuit that takes them through the city and its buildings. Last year the athletes ran through the City Hall that celebrated its 450th birthday. This year the athletes will be able to run through the new Harbour House, a project worked out by the recently deceased architect Zaha Hadid, a construction that seems to form a kind of missing link between a ship and a diamond, two important symbols for Antwerp’s wealth.

Since the Harbour House is quite a bit north of city centre, the circuit will be quite different from previous editions.

If you want to participate, you can subscribe through , but don’t wait too long as recent editions have sold out in less than two weeks. More details of the circuit will be disclosed bit by bit, and everything can be followed on the site mentioned.

Six weeks later, Antwerp will again welcome athletes by the thousands, as then the 10 Miles race is scheduled.

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