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Dreaming of Flanders

When you grow up Belgian, chances are that at some point you’ll race a bike. Even if you don’t, you’ll be surrounded by the cheers and passion that follows Belgian cycling all year long, but never more than during Classics season. For young Belgian bike racers, the ultimate dream is to race the Ronde van Vlaanderen - The Tour of Flanders, where your family friends, and the entire country line the cobbled lanes that connect villages in a massive celebration of the sport, Flemish traditions, and the festive atmosphere that surrounds “De Ronde” - a sacred day in Belgian cycling. 
© copyright Koen De Langhe

To be part of the spectacle that is
de Ronde would be a dream come true for most young riders, but it is a dream that few are able to accomplish. In this cycling mad country, competition to find a place amongst even lower level teams is fierce. Throughout the entire calendar year, thousands race over the very same roads and iconic cobbled climbs as the Spring Classics. From the Oude Kwaremont to the Muur van Geraardsbergen with it’s chapel on the top and the fearsome slopes of the narrow strip of cobbles known as the Koppenberg, young Belgian riders hone their skills hoping to one day race through the countryside cheered on by millions on the most sacred of days in Belgian cycling for the Ronde. 

© copyright ROTH-FOTO 

Most, however, do not get to race over these roads during the Spring Classics, but this does nothing to dampen the collective passion for the sport. Long after hanging up their racing wheels, men and women of all ages continue to ride through the normally quiet roads to test their legs and spirit on these spectacular roads, albeit probably with more cafe stops for coffee or a famous Belgian beer. These places are where riders and fans alike gather to chat, discuss last weekend’s race or catch the finale of whatever race happens to be playing on the TV. 

© copyright Visit Flanders 

There is no escaping it, cycling is everywhere here - it’s hidden between the stunning facades and canals in the squares of the cities like Ghent and Brugge and towns like Oudeaarde, where the Tour of Flanders finishes and is home to the Tour of Flanders Museum. As a cyclist, Flanders is almost a pilgrimage, a place to find the true beating heart of the sport that gives so much to so many - from the roadside fans, to the professional riders, and the starry-eyed dreamers hoping to race there one day. 

Join us for an unforgettable trip to Flanders. Learn more


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