Featuring Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix
Duration: 11 days, 10 nights
Dates: Friday 30 March to Monday 9 April, 2018
Start-Finish: Zaventem Airport (Brussels)
Accommodation: 6 nights Gent, 3 nights Ieper, 1 night Brussels
Group Size: Maximum 15 people (3 Staff)
Cost: A$5870.00 per person twin share.
Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room. If travelling alone we will match you with a person to share. Alternatively you may choose to have a room of your own by paying the single supplement.
Single supplement: A$750.00
- Bike Rental A$660.00 (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
- Pre or post tour accommodation to extend your stay
- Travel Insurance – Email us for details
If you are a true Cycling Enthusiast then you make the pilgrimage once in your life!
In this great 10 days in cycling heaven, you will get the chance to:
- Ride the Tour of Flanders Cycle Sport event and the Paris Roubaix Cycle Sport event. (Entry not included)
- See two of the greatest races in the world and a semi-classic:
- Tour of Flanders
- Grote Scheldeprijs
- Paris Roubaix
- Ride the famous roads with Eric de Clercq, an ex Belgian Pro
- Visit the Tour of Flanders Centre and Museum
- Visit to a Brewery
- Experience Belgian Hospitality
- Immerse yourself in a true Cycling Culture
- Visit Flanders Fields and Ieper with the Menin Gate.
This Trip will be Escorted by Ex Pro, Eric de Clercq
Eric is a native Belgian whose career spanned 11 years from 1991 to 2002, in which he had 19 victories including a stage win in the Tour of Britain. He is one of the hard men of Belgium having raced the big Classics such as Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix. Eric rode for La William-Duvel from 1991-1993, and Collstrop from 1994-2002.
After he retired from racing, Eric became a Director Sportif from 2004-2007 for the Vlaanderen Women’s Pro Team. It was here that Eric learned the organisational skills that make him such an asset to Bikestyle Tours.
Eric has been with Bikestyle Tours for several years and has run trips to the Spring Classics, Giro d’Italia, La Vuelta a Espana and le Tour de France. Speaking three languages, you will find Eric to be a very capable guide and a good guy to socialise with after a ride.
Friday 30th March: Arrival at Bikestyle Tours Spring Classics Trip
We start today with our staff meeting you at Zaventem airport in Brussels at 11.30 am and transferring you to our first hotel in beautiful, lively Gent, our base for the next 6 nights where you can unpack and settle in.
There will be someone to meet you at the Airport and assist you to our vehicle. After we collect everyone we will be on our way to Gent and our self contained apartment-hotel in the center of town.
Unlike the typical hotel it offers comfortable, furnished apartments with full hotel service. These apartments consist of a living-room with sitting-area, dining table and office-desk, a kitchenette with a refrigerator, two hot plates and all the necessary kitchen utensils, a separate bedroom and a bathroom. Wireless broadband internet is available in all apartments.
Centrally located in Gent, it is ideal for visiting the historic city or to the other neighbouring Flemish Cities of Art (Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels are each within 30 minutes).
The first job will be to assemble your bike and Bikestyle staff will be on hand if you have mechanical problems or need any other assistance. The rest of the day is yours.
Depending on your arrival time there should be time for a shakedown ride. It will be possible to do a ride for those who have come in the morning.
Tonight a Welcome Dinner is provided at the Hotel Restaurant and there will be plenty of time to ask questions and meet the staff and of course, the people who you will be spending your holiday with and maybe a Belgian beer or two!
Saturday 31 March: Tour of Flanders Cycle Sport
Each year there is a special event for cycle tourists on the day before the real boys come out to play. There are 3 rides, one covering the whole course, one covering the last 127km and finally a shorter 71km ride. About 16,000 riders do this great event and you will have the opportunity to do either the 127km or the 71km event. (Event distances TBC)
Our great location in Gent will be to our advantage this morning as the hotel prepares an early breakfast and we go to the start.
The 127km is the pick of the events as it gives you a true feel of the race as it traditionally goes over all the final (13 or so) climbs including the famous Molenberg, Oude Kwaremont, Koppenberg, Berendries, Valkenberg, Paterberg. It’s a great but hard day out and the growing popularity of the event now means that almost 16,000 people participate. You would think it might be chaotic and on the climbs, it can be a little but all in all the day goes quite well considering the numbers.
The Tour of Flanders for Cyclists is the second event on the Golden Bike calendar, an initiative of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) (International Cyclist Union) to promote bike races worldwide. The Tour of Flanders (race) is without a doubt one of the biggest sporting events in Belgium.
Today we will have the chance to get a sneak preview of the atmosphere at this biking event. Hopefully, it’s a nice day! Fingers crossed.
Sportif entry is included. Merchandising not included.
After the event, we will gather everyone and head back to Gent for a well-deserved shower and maybe some frites and mayo with a Belgian beer to wash it down along the way!
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Sunday 1st March: Tour of Flanders
I don’t think there is anything quite like seeing a big Classic race live. The crowds are getting bigger every year. All of Flanders comes out to celebrate as if it is their National Day. To me, this is the real heart of cycling. If you are a cyclist you have to see this race once in your life.
The Tour of Flanders is a living monument to cycling thanks to its past winners and demanding parcours. Hard men shine through this race typically hit with snow, wind and/or rain… Men like Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Tom Boonen and Johan Museeuw.
In 2017 the Ronde will finish in Oudenaarde for the fifth time after Tom Boonen won the first part of his famous double (Flanders and Paris Roubaix) in 2012 and who can forget how Fabian Cancellara smashed the opposition on his way to the same double in 2013. In 2016, Peter Sagan at the last climb up the Paterberg leaves his breakaway companion Sep Vanmarcke and solos the last 13.2 kilometres powering to an impressive win. Cancellara is second, Vanmarcke third.
We are assuming the race route will be similar to the 2016 event which will include a final section of 75 kilometers built around three loops on the Oude-Kwaremont and Paterberg in combination with the Koppenberg and Kruisberg.
This loop is concentrated around four crucial hills in the Flemish Ardennes, all within a stone’s throw of each other. The ultimate final, being ten climbs and two cobbled sections followed by a straight line to the finish in Oudenaarde, will see only the strongest survive to battle out the finish.
Hundreds of thousands of cycling fans make the Tour of Flanders what it is today so the atmosphere on this final circuit will be amazing!
Today we’ll be a part of the lotto-Soudal team. We’re having breakfast together with the riders. After breakfast we can check out the bikes the riders will use and we have a quick look at the team bus. After all this, we will ride in convoy to the start area where you can check the other teams.
Once the start is given we’re starting our own tour of Flanders, not on the bike but with the van. We will go from one point to another using the back roads in the Flanders area.
In our vans, we have TV so we don’t have to miss anything of the race.
We’re providing a pick nick lunch with bubbles, beer and soft drinks;
After seeing the finish we will return to Gent for an evening free in the town. Our hotel is situated in the centre of Gent so the restaurants are only a short walk away.
Brief History of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen
The Ronde is one of the most prestigious of the Spring Classics, or of any cycle race. It’s an endurance race in the true sense. 270 kms with more than a dozen climbs it varies year to year. There are no Alpine or Pyrenean mountains, but most of the climbs are narrow and steep, and several are cobbled. Although they are tough in their own right, they also raise the tempo in between since everybody wants to be in a good position when they start.
Meals: Breakfast, VIP Lunch
Monday 2nd April: Tour of Flanders Museum
Today we will drive to Oudenaarde for a visit of the Tour of Flanders Centre and Museum in Oudenaarde, followed by lunch in the beautiful town square. After lunch we will do a loop on yesterday’s racecourse included the Oude Kwaremont, Patersberg and Koppenberg. This is our chance to take some pictures on the most famous climbs from the ronde van Vlaanderen.
The Tour of Flanders Centre is located in the historical heart of Oudenaarde near the Market Square. Oudenaarde is the gateway to the Flemish Ardennes, with the slopes and cobbled roads of the Tour of Flanders.
It is much more than an interactive museum. It also consists of an auditorium, an exhibition hall, a conference room, a lobby, a theme cafe and a great shop where they sell good quality clothing including original wool jerseys. The Tour plays an important role in the Flemish social life. Discover the glorious moments of your heroes and feel the emotions of the most beautiful classic in Flanders.
The interactive museum looks for the spirit and the heroes of the Tour. The museum has a multi-media approach with magnificent audiovisuals, projections and computer simulations. Every visitor gets the chance to experience the Tour himself. You can feel the excitement, the suffering, and the happiness. You can cycle next to Schotte, Merckx or Museeuw and you can feel the cobbled stones and hills.
Every theme has an installation with text, photographs, films, graphic creations, sounds, and objects. Once again, you feel the atmosphere of Flanders’ finest classic. You learn everything about the evolution and the history. The computers show you additional and statistic information.
Tuesday 3rd April: A Truly Belgian Day – Cobbles, Bikes and Beer
This morning we will leave Gent for the day and travel to Brakel, the home town of Eric your guide and the heartland of the Flemish Ardennes. Eric will take you to some of the famous cobbled climbs from earlier editions including the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen, the Kapelmuur and the Bosberg. As a side note “Muur” means wall! So you can image how the Muur van Geraardsbergen is feared by may Pro riders.
After lunch it is off to brouwerij Roman or Brewery Roman for a tour and tasting. The story of the Roman family brewery began back in 1545. The brewery had been located in Mater (on the route of the Tour of Flanders) east of the city of Oudenaarde for more than four centuries.
The village, which is now part of Oudenaarde, as well as the family name, probably find their origin back in the Roman ages. In those days, the brewery was located along a major road connecting Germany to France.
Along this commercial route, there was a big farm called “De Clocke”, in which travellers were able to rest and spend the night, rest their horses and get them stabled or get a fresh horse if necessary.
After our visit we will stumble to the vans and return to Gent where you are free for the evening
Wednesday 4th April: Grote Scheldeprijs
This morning we will see the second of the great races in our week at the Classics, the semi classic Grote Scheldeprijs. Being midweek between Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix it is expected that the top riders will come out to contest this, the oldest race in Belgium.
We will go to the start in Mol this morning with hopefully a little time to look around before we head off to see the race on one of the cobbled sections. This will be followed by a ride around the final circuit of the race and lunch before the race passes through the finish in Schoten for the first of 4 times. We will stay in Schoten until the finish and return to the hotel afterwards.
The Grote Scheldeprijs is a Belgian semi classic cycling race which starts in Antwerp and finishes in Schoten. The event is seen as a race for sprinters, held on flat roads over roughly 200 kilometres. The race is one circuit of 155 kilometres into the countryside of Antwerp province followed by three circuits of 15 kilometres based on Schoten. The route includes seven cobbled sections varying between 1300 and 3000 metres.
The first Scheldeprijs was organised by the Antwerp branch of the Belgian cycling federation (BWB) on July 8 1907 making it the oldest cycle race in Flanders. In its early years it started and finished in Antwerp, concluding at the now demolished Zurenborg velodrome.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Thursday 5th April: Arenberg Forest
All the action today will centre round the famed Arenberg forest, The Wallers Forest and the section near Orchies. Today will be the last big day training for the teams, they will complete their final bike preparation and complete the reconnaissance of the important parts of the course and we usually see many of the teams out on the pave.
We will visit one of the teams for breakfast before heading down to Arenberg and see many of the teams pass through there before heading across to the Roubaix velodrome to see where we will be finishing Saturday’s Cyclo Sportif ride and then go to the club house for some retail therapy and possibly a beer in the bar.
We will offer an easy ride over the final sections of the Roubaix course and a loop on the famous Roubaix velodrome to finish our ride. It will give you a taste of what you will experience in a couple of days time at the Cyclo Sportif.
First used in 1968 the Trouée d’Arenberg, Tranchée d’Arenberg, (Trench of Arenberg), Trouee de Wallers Arenberg, has become the symbol of Paris–Roubaix. The 2400m of cobbles were laid in the time of Napoleon I and the road was proposed for Paris–Roubaix by former professional Jean Stablinski, who had worked in the mine under the woods of Arenberg. Although almost 100 km from Roubaix, the sector usually proves decisive and as Stablinski said “Paris–Roubaix is not won in Arenberg, but from there the group with the winners is selected.”
Overnight: Ieper (Ypres)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Friday 6th April: Ieper, the Flanders Fields, and Kemmelberg
We will leave the hotel and head out to ride some of the interesting parts of the course from the famous Gent-Wevelgem race, including the famous Kemmelberg which is about 12km from Ieper. After our ride we will return to Ieper for lunch and a shower. Ieper is a unique European city, giving you the opportunity to fully experience what the Great War was really like. No other city has such interesting medieval story to tell and no other city has combined its past elements better into a modern place bubbling with enthusiasm for the future. Dive into Ieper’s medieval past in the town centre and pay a visit to the Cloth Hall on one of the most beautiful market squares of Belgium or go for a walk around the 17th Century Vauban ramparts. The very beautiful and grand Main Square is full of life with restaurants and cafes flanked by the museum and town hall on one side.
After lunch we will visit the Flanders Fields which were the scene of some of the most fierce battles of World War 1. Included will be a visit to the Tyne Cot Cemetery where there is an interesting display of the battles fought in this area and the resting place of many Australians and British soldiers.
The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom in perpetuity by King Albert I of Belgium in recognition of the sacrifices made by the British Empire in the defence and liberation of Belgium during the war. It is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, for any war.
The name “Tyne Cot” is said to come from the Northumberland Fusiliers seeing a resemblance between the German concrete pill boxes, which still stand in the middle of the cemetery, and typical Tyneside workers’ cottages – Tyne Cots.
To complete our day, on our return we will head to an early dinner (provided tonight) in order to be able to see the last post at the Menin Gate.
Every evening (at 8 pm) since 1928, the Last Post has been sounded under the imposing memorial arches of the Menin Gate. The Last Post is the traditional salute to the fallen and is played in honour of the memory of the soldiers of the then British Empire, who fought and died in the ‘Immortal Ypres Salient’ between 1914 and 1918.
Overnight: Ieper (Ypres)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Saturday 7th April: Paris-Roubaix Cyclo Sportif
For the second time this week you will have the opportunity to ride the same route as the pros the day before the race.
Paris-Roubaix Cyclo Sportif gives every cyclist the opportunity to experience the magic of Paris-Roubaix! Just a day before the real Paris-Roubaix, the Paris-Roubaix Challenge is conducted under the same conditions with the same cobblestones and the finish on the Vélodrome… Does it get any better? Trouée d’Arenberg, Carrefour de l’Arbre, Roubaix velodrome.
The Paris-Roubaix Cyclo Sportif offers a ride to the heart of the legendary history of cycling. We will offer 2 distances 145km and 70km (TBC), regardless of what route you choose, you will finish on the track of the fabled Roubaix Velodrome. There will be refreshments and you can take a shower in the very same place where the winners of the pro race (from Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault to Tom Boonen) wrote some of the most beautiful chapters in their careers.
We will have an early breakfast and head down to Roubaix around 7.00am to the start and all going well we will be on the bike by 8.00am. You can start any time you like before 10.00am and sometimes it’s good to start a bit later to avoid the rush at the start.
This concept is unique and an exceptional challenge. It won’t be easy but if you take it steadily and stay safe you’ll see the velodrome soon enough.
Sportif entry is included. Merchandising not included.
Overnight: Ieper (Ypres)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Sunday 8th April: Paris Roubaix
This morning we will head off to Paris Roubaix, the Hell of the North or l’enfer du nord as the French say.
There is no other race in the world like the Paris-Roubaix. The French race is known for its torturous pavé sectors and the many stories of pain and destruction that they hold.
Our own Stuart O’Grady has won this icon and dreams of riders like George Hincapie and Johan Museeuw have ended in tears along the roadside, but the risks make the victory in velodrome that much sweeter. After 260 kilometres and around 50 of pavé, the race ends with one and a half laps on Roubaix’s outdoor track.
Win in Roubaix, the third of cycling’s five Monuments, and you are considered a god. Riders like Roger De Vlaeminck, Fausto Coppi, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, Sean Kelly and Tom Boonen have tamed Paris-Roubaix’s pavé for the well-earned status.
After a hard day on the bike yesterday we take it easy this morning. We already have seen two starts this week, Flanders and the Scheldeprijs. After breakfast were going to the first cobblestone section of the day. Through the afternoon we will visit several sections of pavé along the route where we’ll see up close the difficult conditions that take their toll on the riders as the day wears on.
Then our chase begins and goes something like this:
Final times to be confirmed when race schedule is released.
We will head straight to the cobble stone area at Inchy where will see the race pass over a long and difficult section of pavé (cobble stones), as well as enjoy our picnic lunch.
13h25 : First cobble stone area at Inchy, Length of pavé : 1800 m
14h40 : Haveluy, Length of pavé : 2500 m
15h45 : Orchies, Length of pavé : 1700 m From Orchies will then head to the Roubaix velodrome to await the arrival of the 2015 winner.
17h30 : Velodrome
18h30 : After we have visited the finish area your day at Paris-Roubaix comes to an end. In between the different stops we will follow the race on TV in our vehicles and we will provide a picnic lunch with drinks and snacks during the day.
After the race we will continue to our hotel in near Zaventem in preparation for our departure tomorrow. Tonight we’ll have a farewell dinner where it all began 10 days ago!
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Monday 9th April: A Bientot
Trip ends and we head our separate ways but we hope to see you again soon. We will have a bus available to shuttle people to the airport during the day.
- All Transport.
- Services of experienced Tour Guides, including former Belgian pro cyclist, Eric de Clercq.
- Return transfers from Zaventem Airport on the 30th March and 9th April.
- Accommodation in a 3 star apartment (Gent), a quality 4 star Hotel (Ieper) and 4 star hotel in Zaventem.
- Buffet breakfast daily.
- 3 course evening meals on 5 nights.
- Lunch on 2 days.
- VIP access to Oude Kwaremont VIP Marquee with full catering, TV and great viewing.
- Mechanical assistance with your bike.
- Sightseeing as listed.
- Maps and Bikestyle Tours Itinerary.
- Bikestyle Tours Cycling Jersey & Bibs
- Entry to Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix
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- We charge for our trips in Australian Dollars (AUD) and prices shown in other currencies are only approximate. We advise that you check the exchange rate before booking.
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- It is a requirement of Bikestyle Tours that you have Travel Insurance for your trip.