Van Avermaet, Gaviria and Lampaert headline new Great War Remembrance Race
WorldTour teams have confirmed their presence: BMC, Quick-Step Floors, eam Sunweb and Lotto Soudal
Looking at the first names the BMC team for this race will be build around Greg van Avermaet. The Belgian rider took victory in Ghent-Wevelgem in 2017 and is keen on repeating that win on practically the same course. In the Dutch formation of Sunweb we see Edward Theuns finally getting his chance to shine on Flemish soil after working for his teammates in the Tour de France and the previous races.
Both teams will have to go up against a very strong Quick-Step Floors team. They head to the Flanders Fields region with some of their top riders and have multiple chances of getting another win. Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert, sprinting sensation Fernando Gaviria and Scheldeprijs winner Fabio Jakobsen, it are only a few of the top tier names that fans will be able to admire at the start in Nieuwpoort.
In their busy schedule Lotto-Soudal has made some room in their agenda for this brand new cobbled rides in Flanders Fields, being ideally located on the calendar only two days before the WT-ride of Ploauy. Between Nieuwpoort and Ypres the Belgian formation will be keen to show something on home soil. Names that will probably be present are European time trial champion, Victor Campenaerts, Moreno Hofland, Frederik Frison and Jasper De Buyst. For a final selection we'll have to have a little more patience.
With the adition of Lotto-Soudal, the Great War Remembrance Race is now welcoming four WorldTour-teams. Before BMC (with Greg van Avermaet), Quick-Step Floors (with Jakobsen, Gaviria and Lampaert) and Sunweb (with Edward Theuns) had already confirmed.
Next to four WorldTour-teams, the list of participants is completed with eleven Pro Continental teams. Belgium is represented by WB Veranclassics, Wanty, Topsport-Vlaanderen and Veranda's Willems. Also the Dutch Roompot and Israel Cycling Academy are present. From France Direct Energie, Vital Concept and Cofidis are coming, from Poland CCC and from Ireland Aqua Blue Sport.
Finally eight continental teams are riding along: Cibel-Cebon, AGO-Aqua Service, T.Palm and Tartelleto-Isorex (Belgium), Team Wiggins and Madison Genesis (UK), Team Coop (Norway) and Team Vorarlberg-Santic (Austria).
Least We Forget
With the Great War Remembrance Race, the organisation is paying tribute to the heroes of the Great War. The Camille Fily Trophy is presented to the winner of the Great War Remembrance Race. The racer symbolises the many young men who gave their lives for our freedom.
The Kemmelberg was of special significance during the First World War. When the front became stuck south of Ypres in November 1914, the hill served as a vantage point and was an important strategic location. The Germans captured higher-lying positions such as Bayernwald and Petit Bois, while the British had the Kemmelberg to spy on the enemy.
As from 9 April 1918, the German troops broke through the front line, conquered Dranouter and Kemmel a week later and pushed on all the way to the foot of the Kemmelberg. The fighting continued until the end of June 1918 and the so-called Battle of the Kemmelberg claimed over 5,000 lives. One of the victims was the French cyclist Camille Fily. The Frenchman, born in 1887, was just 17 years old when he took 9th place in the second edition of the Tour of France in 1904. To this day he remains the youngest Tour participant ever. Four months after the Tour, and often for reasons that are not clear, 19 racers were disqualified, including Camille Fily. On 21 May 1905, he finished tenth in the Bordeaux-Paris race. A good month later Le Gosse Lochois reappeared at the start of the Tour, in which he finished in 14th place. It would also be his last Tour of France, because the Frenchman had to go into military service for three years and as a result saw his fledgling cycling career cut short.
When the First World War broke out, Camille Fily had to serve as a soldier once again. On 11 May 1918 he was killed during the Battle of the Kemmelberg. The former racer died while on a bicycle, delivering a message to the hamlet of Millekruis. His name is listed on the war memorial in the town of Loches.