16,000 brave souls rode in the slipstream of the professionals at Flanders
Over 16,000 flandriens from all over the world are rode their own Tour of Flanders. The amateurs took on the same climbs, cobblestones and narrow passages, a day before the professionals
The bravest of them all deparedt in the early morning at 7 a.m. in Antwerp and followed exactly the same course as the pros. No less than 5,350 contenders showed up for the tour of 229 kilometers, the highest number in this category so far. The course began on the quays of the river Schelde, followed by a passage through the Waaslandtunnel (traffic free). After the scenery of the Waasland they set course to Zottegem, where the real deal finally began with the Haaghoek and the Leberg.
Participants of the remaining distances departed in Oudenaarde at the Qubus, yet again the nerve centre of the We Ride Flanders premier event. This year the majority (5,660) choose again for the trajectory of 139 km while 2,800 cyclists went for the 174 km course (Muur van Geraardsbergen and Tenbosse included). 2,200 riders choose to rode the shortest track (74 km). All distances combined, over 1,200 women took part.
The heroics of The Tour of Flanders and other Flemish races attract cycling fanatics from all over the world. People from 66 different countries signed up for this edition: one half of the participants were Belgian, the other half consisted of 2,700 Dutchmen, 1,660 people from the UK and 1,150 Frenchmen.
Furthermore to that over 200 Americans and more than 100 Australians and New Zealanders, with individuals as far away as Cuba, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and even from Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.
Hors Catégorie and renowned guests
A few hundred riders who just couldn't get enough of cycling have chose the for We Ride Flanders Hors Catégorie. They met some former winners of The Tour of Flanders including Johan Museeuw and Alessandro Ballan at breakfast table and had a healthy meal with them in the VIP-tent close to the official finish for the professional riders.
There were also cyclists who rode along with a group of prominent guests. Some Belgian politicians exchanged their seats in parliament for a saddle; amongst others Vice-Prime Ministers Kris Peeters and Alexander De Croo, Flemish Minister of Culture Sven Gatz and Marnic Demeulemeester, mayor of Oudenaarde.
For the sixth year in a row, the total amount of participants was limited to 16,000 riders, sold out many weeks in advance. By doing so, the organizers guaranteed a safe event with respect for the environment and the surroundings of the course. Therefore Peloton, the organizer of the event, signed a new covenant with the province of East Flanders.
Four obstacles along the track were exclusively made available for cyclists with special permission from the organization the sections; Waaslandtunnel, Breeweg in Brakel, Koppenberg and Kwaremont.
Peloton's s main goals were the safety and comfort of all the participants. They tried to raise the awareness of the participants to respect the rules of traffic like using the bike paths and stopping at red lights, and to not let them harm the environment.
More than 400 marshals, 30 of them mobile, assisted the riders and there were more than 150 warning signs, 260 dustbins and 195 toilets on the road.
You can find your photo from this year's event at: https://www.sportograf.com/en/shop/event/4396-Ronde-van-Vlaanderen---Tour-of-Flanders-2018
For more information, please visit: http://www.sport.be/werideflanders/2018/en/