September 22, 2021

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CEO of Flanders Classics, Van den Spiegel: "The World Cup in Leuven has to stay with the people afterwards" |  cycling world championship

CEO of Flanders Classics, Van den Spiegel: “The World Cup in Leuven has to stay with the people afterwards” | cycling world championship

A new chance for Belgian glory and after the games a chance for a gold promotion, because the World Championships will take place in our country from September 19 to 26. “In Belgian coordination,” Thomas van den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics, the co-organizer, said on the podcast De Tribune.

heavy regulation

With the classics of Flanders, Van Den Spiegel has a lot of experience when it comes to organizing bicycle races: previous editions, among others, of the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem came from his hand.

The world championships – the time trials between Knokke-Heist and Bruges and road races starting in Antwerp and ending in Leuven – will run from September 18-26. Van Den Spiegel will sponsor the organization with Golazo, organizer of the Van Damme Memorial and BinckBank Tour, among others.

“If I had asked a year ago, I would have said that we were way ahead of the schedule. And that no one would ever organize it like we do. But I have to say it’s a very tough organization, because you’re talking about an 8-day event with a lot of side events.”

“Probably the biggest event we have organized for us and Golazzo. It’s rarely about race.” (Laughs)

In terms of workload, is this Ronde van Flander twice? “It’s very hard to say. You can compare Sunday’s men’s road race to the Ronde race, but there are still 7 days left of events and time trials.”

“Plus, this is largely funded by government money, and that means there’s also an expectation that we have to meet.”

Of course we also take into account the current Corona measures for events, but we are optimistic about that. Yesterday I was at Jan Bridle with 24,000 others.”

“The intention is definitely that something will stick and that will be talked about for years to come. So now we are also starting to communicate fully about our World Cup, and the riders are not leaving Antwerp out of thin air.”

We particularly wanted a Belgian course for men and women.

CEO Thomas van den Spiegel

Chances for Van Aert and Kopecky

The course itself is already a feast for the eyes. Wim de Koninck – Football Analyst with Cycling Legs – has an opinion on this: “I’ve seen that there are 42 ramps and 2,500 vertical meters hidden on the field. So it would be a knockout race that would result in a very nice world champion, an Evenepoel or Alaphilippe or Van type.” Aert”.

After his strong and consistent performance throughout the year and his silver medal at the Games, all eyes will undoubtedly be on Wout van Aert once again. “Yes, but he remains very calm about it,” says de Koninck.

This was already the case in Japan, where he was constantly besieged and targeted. This is why a good Evenepoel is important by his side. And he proved in Denmark that he’s rediscovered his old self – even though he didn’t end up in the strongest field there.”

Looking at the women, Van Den Spiegel dares to point to Lotte Kopecky. “Animek van Vleuten really showed its disappointment last year, because it is not as difficult as with the men, but we are doing a cycle with the possibility of a Belgian winner and a winner. We especially wanted a Belgian cycle for men and women.”

Thomas Vanden Spiegel.

underestimated rate

The Druivenkoers will be in Overijse on Thursday, we might call this the World Cup rehearsal, including the course and field for participants.

“The Flanderine loop with the now legendary Moskesstraat is woven into the Druivenkoers, where Alaphilippe and Asgreen really come to test their legs,” Van Den Spiegel knows.

“It is all about the World Cup. These guys really come to see what it will cost to become world champions.”

“Two years ago we already decided with Flanders Classics to modify the Brabantse Pijl track, and the Moskesstraat has already been done several times,” says Van Den Spiegel.

“Where the race used to end in a sprint, it’s now tougher,” adds de Koninck.

The CEO concludes, “If I could speak for our own store, I think it’s an underrated path that still shows a lot of potential.”

“You can also see that in the winners of recent years (Pidcock, Alaphilippe, Van dern Poel, ed.). So we assume that the World Cup in Belgium will also remain in those same regions.”

Download the De Tribune podcast

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