April 23, 2024

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CEO Van Den Spiegel takes stock after the tour: “Zero tolerance for non-sporting fans is the only solution”

CEO Van Den Spiegel takes stock after the tour: “Zero tolerance for non-sporting fans is the only solution”

The dust after the 108th round in Flanders has gradually settled. Thomas van den Spiegel, CEO of the organization Flanders Classics, weighs in on the popularity of his course and the pitfalls that come with it and about the course. “We may have to deal with Koppenberg differently in the future.”

Matteo van der Poel and Elisa Longo Borghini are the winners of the 108th and 21st Tour of Flanders, but the Flanders Classics could also be satisfied with this edition. “Even though it was Easter and local hero Wout van Aart was not there, we once again broke the record for the number of viewers,” Van den Spiegel wrote on X.

“There were more than 50,000 people at the Oude Kwaremont, an absolute record. But managing and spreading this audience will be very important in the future.”

“We must continue to educate fans when it comes to safety. They should be behind fences or on the side of the road, never on the road. Period.”

Van Den Spiegel also returned to incidents with beer hurlers and booers. “Support is about passion and should be positive. You should never compromise the integrity of the riders. Zero tolerance is the only way forward in this regard. These individuals should not be allowed to tarnish the image of our sport.”

Thomas van den Spiegel.

“We may have to deal with Koppenberg differently in the future.”

One of the most striking images of this tour was undoubtedly the scene that took place in the Koppenberg during the men's race. Almost the entire platoon was suddenly there on foot and had to climb up.

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“We may have to approach this differently in the future,” Van den Spiegel admits. “The combination of bike tourists riding on Saturday, suppliers, fans, vehicles at the race and the late rain made it difficult for the men to negotiate the slope. When the women had to pass, the layer of mud had already been washed off.”

“We always have a backup plan. We also thought about that during the race. But changing the track at the last minute also has consequences for the safety of the team and the fans. Leaving Koppenberg on the track was the safest option.”

“We saw that deleting Canaryberg created a safer path.”

“In general, we can look back and see a successful version, but organizing a large event in a public place remains a huge challenge.”

The platoon was on foot at Koppenberg.

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