Flanders Classics has dropped a bomb over Zottegem: this year the Tour of Flanders will not go through the town of Egmont. “It is a pity that we have to hear such news from third parties. Meanwhile, Flanders Classics has also contacted me to confirm the news,” says a disappointed City Marketing alderman Brecht Cassiman (N-VA).
Since 2010, riders have not crossed the Paddestraat in Velzeke during the Tour of Flanders, and that was only once. Because in the Paddestraat, Flanders’ most beautiful traditionally erupts. “We hear that from a lot of cyclists and racing enthusiasts. Unfortunately, for the first time in years, the organizer Flanders Classics is completely ignoring our Egmon city: no Paddestraat, no passage in the center and no more Dorp van de Ronde without explanation,” says city councilor Brecht Cassiman.
Longtime loyal partner
The alderman notes that Flanders Classics is making agreements for 2023, 2025 and 2027 with municipalities such as Izegem, Zulte, Aalter and Beernem, while Zottegem is simply brushed aside as a long-standing loyal partner and village of the round. “Although this year and in the years to come the city council has provided the necessary budgets to welcome Flanders Beauties in style as the village of the round, we regret that Flanders Classics prefers to play the West Flemish card in odd-numbered years. Then the start is in Bruges and Zottegem as the gateway to the Flemish Ardennes is obviously too much of a detour to the finish in Oudenaarde,” Cassiman continues.
Start a conversation
Nevertheless, Zottegem hopes to be able to consult with Flanders Classics in order to be able to welcome the Ronde bike caravan back to its territory in 2024. “Because one thing is for sure: the Ronde will not be the same without docking the bike frames over the cobblestones of Velzeek,” concludes Cassiman.
Source : HLN