On Saturday 28 August, a new edition of the Brussels Cycling Classic will take place. This year too, the beautiful Parc du Cinquantenaire, in the centre of the capital, serves for the start of the race. The finish returns to Houba de Strooperlaan. There is a new element though, a little trip to Geraardsbergen for a double passage of Muur-Kapelmuur, Bosberg and Congoberg.
Parc du Cinquantenaire is still one of the loveliest spots in Brussels, and by extension the Brussels-Capital Region, so the race starts there once more when the flag drops on 28 August. At 10:10 a.m., the peloton will set off in search of Tim Merlier’s successor. Predicting that successor will be particularly difficult this year as the course has undergone a serious facelift.
“We look forward to the inclusion of the city of Geraardsbergen and the Muur in the story of the Brussels Cycling Classic,” says Flanders Classics CEO Tomas Van Den Spiegel. “We deliberately opted to create a spectacle in and around Geraardsbergen during the finale. With a double passage of Muur-Kapelmuur, Bosberg and Congoberg, we may get a completely different Brussels Cycling Classic than we have been used to in recent years.”
The race on 28 August is also eagerly anticipated in Geraardsbergen. Mayor of Geraardsbergen, Guido De Padt: “With a double passage in Geraardsbergen and the gruelling final climb just 50 km from the finish line, the Muur will undoubtedly play a decisive role in this revamped finale. Of course we are happy with the passage. But let’s be honest, when it comes to cycle racing, you have to include the Muur. It’s a win-win for all parties. A passage means promotion for our beautiful city, but conversely our iconic Muur creates a great spectacle and plenty of excitement. We also want to host some fantastic cycle races in Geraardsbergen in the autumn. The more, the better.”
With the starting shot at the entrance to the beautiful Parc du Cinquantenaire and a finish line on the wide Houba de Strooperlaan, the Brussels-Capital Region will, of course, serve as the backdrop for two of the most important key moments of the Brussels Cycling Classic.
“I am pleased that our region is once again hosting the iconic Brussels Cycling Classics race,” says Sven Gatz,Minister for Finance and Budget, responsible for promoting Brussels. “In the aftermath of the Tour de France and on the eve of the UCI Road World Championships that will take place in our country this year, the greatest champions will race through the centre of our capital city at the end of the summer with victory as their only goal! I would like to thank the organisers who worked so hard to ensure a spectacular and atmospheric event on 28 August.”
Benoit Hellings, City of Brussels’ First Alderman and Alderman for Sport is also looking forward to a new edition: “Cycle racing can now resume unchecked on the Brussels cobblestones, because the Brussels Cycling Classic is back! After a rather understated edition last year, I am delighted to welcome one of the oldest cycling classics back in its full glory in our beautiful city. We are hoping for wonderful sunshine, a thrilling, safe race and a surprising result!”
From Geraardsbergen, the peloton travels along Brabantsebaan and Rosweg, two new cobblestone stretches, to the final climb of the day: Eksterstraat, 14 km from the finish. It then heads off at full pelt towards the capital, where the finish line on Houba de Strooperlaan beckons. Tim Merlier’s successor will be revealed in Brussels around 3.30 p.m. Will this year’s winner also emerge at the end of a mass sprint? We’ll have to wait and see.