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15,000 Cyclists tackled 2024 Tour of Flanders Fondo in Brutal Conditions

Thousands of cyclists tested themselves on the steep cobbled climbs and meandering roads through the beautiful Flemish countryside in non-stop rain, which turned the cobbled climbs into a quagmire!

15,000 Cyclists tackle 2024 Tour of Flanders in Brutal Conditions

On Saturday March 30th 2024, one day before the pros, tradition dictates that cycling enthusiasts ride the course of the Ronde (Tour of Flanders). We Ride Flanders offered cyclists four different distances and the chance to have the same experience as the pros have on Sunday. Once again this year, the craziest Gran Fondo in the world attracted over 9,700 foreigners from 65 countries.

Unfortunately with record rain fall and flooding over the winter period in Western Europe (same say due to El Nino), conditions were absolutely brutal. It was wet, cold, muddy and very slippery on the cobbled climbs.

Over 3,200 cyclits signed up for the longest distance of 237km strating in Antwerp, where the bravest of all Flandriens set off at 7am to ride the full course to Oudenaarde, just like the pros do today.They faced a total of 17 climbs and 2,260m of climbing. Just after the start, a unique passage through the Waaslandtunnel also awaited them.

The quickest riders on the 237km course crossed the finish line in under 7 hours, with many taking up to 12 hours in the wet, cold, slippery and muddy conditions.

The 159 km, 128 km and 74 km distances started in Oudenaarde between 7 am and 10 am. Even on the shorter distances, a minimum of 10 hills and four cobbled sections awaited the participants. No one escaped the KoppenbergKarnemelkbeekstraatOude Kwaremont and Paterberg and the 2 km cobbled stretch of Mariaborrestraat. As in the pro race this year, no Kanarieberg, but Kapelleberg. Those choosing the second longest distance (158 km) also got a diversion up the Muur van Geraardsbergen, just like the participants of the longest distance.

It was wet, cold, muddy and very slippery on the cobbled climbs!

Just over 60% of the total field of participants came from abroad, primarily from neighbouring countries: 2,800 Dutch, 2,200 French, 1,400 British, 700 Germans and 600 Italians. Every year cyclists flock to the Flemish cobbles and hills in their hundreds from every continent.

About 600 volunteers and employees were on hand on the day to make sure everything rans smoothly, despite the tough conditions.

Many prominent people took part including; Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, BOIC President Jean-Michel Saive, cyclo-cross riders Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout, former cyclists Johan MuseeuwDirk De WolfStuart O'Grady and Thomas Voeckler.
Everyone reeceived a medal for their efforts, with Belgian beer, Frites and Mayo served up afterwards!

For many cyclists, We Ride Flanders is a bucket list event globally. They massively contribute to the cycling tourism in the Flemish region, as many of them plan a multi-day trip to Belgium to ride and watch the Pro race and enjoy the Classics races.

Did you ride? Have your say here!

Link to 2024 Ronde van Vlaanderen Cyclo Results: