Duration: 4 days (3 nights)
Dates: Friday 5th – Monday 8th April, 2019
Start-Finish: Zaventem Airport (Brussels)
Accommodation: 3 nights Gent in 3 star apartment
Group Size: Maximum 15 people (3 Staff)
Suitable for: Cyclists and Non Cyclists
TRIP COST: A$2990.00 per person twin share
OPTIONAL SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: A$290.00
Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room. If traveling 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.
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 learnt 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 of course, le Tour de France. Speaking three languages, you will find Eric to be a very capable guide and good guy to socialise with after a ride.
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 centre 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!
Easier Ride Option
Welcome Dinner (with drinks)
Harder Ride Option
Each year there is a special Cycling Sportif event for cycling tourists on the day before the real boys come out to play. On average 16,000 riders do this great event and you too will have the opportunity to do either the 170km, 130km or the 74km distance events – you choose.
Our great location in Gent will be to our advantage this morning as the hotel will prepare an early breakfast for us. After breakfast, we will head off to the start line to start your Flander Sportif experience.
The 130km 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 day on the bike but a hard one as 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 like that but all in all the day goes smoothly and quickly considering the numbers.
The Tour of Flanders for Cyclists is the second event on the Golden Bike calendar, an initiative of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) to promote bike races worldwide. The Tour of Flanders (the 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 cycling event. Hopefully, it’s blue skies! 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!
Easier Ride Option
Harder Ride Option
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 2019, we are expecting the route will finish for the eighth time in Oudenaarde. In 2018 Niki Terpstra launched a brave solo bid for victory and was able to maintain a small lead over his chases for the last 20km to claim a popular victory.
We are assuming the race route will be similar to the 2018 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, which 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.
Watching Race – No Ride
Breakfast, Picnic Lunch
Watching Race – No Ride
Sadly, our trip comes to an end today. We hope have enjoyed the Spring Classics experience and challenged yourself on some of the toughest roads in Europe. Most of all we hope you’ve created new friendships and great memories. The 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.
Tour cost is per person twin share and includes: