Race in Belgium


New Member
Nov 9, 2002
If anyone here is interested in racing in Belgium for the 2003 season get in touch with me. I should have space for about 6 guys that want to race here for either April - June , July - Sept or the whole season.<br /><br />http://users.pandora.be/phil.stone
I was wondering if you could get me some info about racing on the continent...as i am moving up to junior next year and feel i would like to rce abroad and see how i fair.<br />What are the races like..distance..profile etc...?<br />Do i need anything special to be able to race over there etc..?<br />thanx<br />steve
Here's all the info you need, Steve Jnr. You can e-mail Phil at [email protected]<br /><br />Belgian kermises are not for the novice or faint-hearted, but if you want a change from your normal racing and fancy some hard racing on closed circuits with good sized crowds watching then read on. <br /><br />It's not as hard as you might think to ride some of the numerous kermis races in Belgium. With a bit of planning it should be easy for anyone in South East to leave their house at say 7.00 on a Saturday morning and be racing in Belgium that afternoon without being too stressed or worn out from the journey. You can do another race on Sunday and still be home well before midnight and anyone living further a field could start out Friday evening and still get their moneys worth. Of course, a longer stay makes the cost of the ferry and petrol work out proportionally less and gives you a number of opportunities in case of bad weather, punctures etc. Additionally, after a week of racing in Belgium you should notice a difference in your form when you return <br /><br />Bryan Taylor and Nic Cheetham have been doing this for a few years along with other riders from the South London area with the help of Dulwich Paragon's Bob Ruszkowski and his 7 seater Peugeot. Here are some hints and tips picked up from their experiences. <br /><br />Getting There <br /><br />Cram as many riders as possible into a car and it works out reasonably cheap. Seacat Hoverspeed runs from Dover to Ostend and the ferries from Dover to Calais. Both leave you an easy drive to races. You might also want to consider the Eurotunnel. The major roads are normally quite free of traffic, and towns are generally well signposted and easy to find. If you're thinking of going again, it might be worth investing in a good street map of the Flanders region when you arrive. <br /><br />Accommodation <br /><br />The way you set yourself up with accommodation will vary a lot depending on whether you are thinking of a weekend, a few weeks, or a whole season. For short trips you could try one of the contacts at the end, which provide varying levels of comfort and price. Obviously there are many more but these are some of the ones we've used over the years. <br /><br />If you show some talent, you may find that a team manager will approach you, and help fix up a place to stay (e.g. with a cycling-friendly family) for a longer period in you're interested. <br /><br />Entering Races <br /><br />This is easy! Just turn up with your licence and a deposit for your number (This year its Euro3 ) and you're in. There are kermesses every day of the week and there will always be something within reach of wherever you're staying. Most are afternoon events although some are early evening, which can be useful if you're on a weekend excursion and are delayed on a crossing. It is advisable to get a letter from the BCF authorising you to race abroad although this is hardly ever requested. Be careful if you've got a mix of under &amp; over 23 riders in your group, as if there is an espoirs race in the region, all espoirs must ride that. <br /><br />The races are advertised in a publication called Cyclo Sprint. Unlike the BCF handbook, this is available fortnightly on subscription. This can be an expensive way of finding out the details if you are going on short trip but there are other options. If you have access to the Internet, this webpage KBWB-RLVB contains basic race details but can be a little slow in being updated. The best solutions are probably to ring the Belgium Cycle Federation (John number pls) and ask them to fax details to you, or contact John Barclay of the Festival RC (020 8688 2936). John is based in Croydon, and has been helping riders of all ages to race in Belgium for many years. If you're nice, he will be happy to forward race details to you and answer any queries you might have. <br /><br />Once you have the race calendar, the events to look for are &quot;Elite zonder contact &quot;, for riders without a contract &amp; above 23years old &amp; Beloften which is under23.. Aside from the espoirs\aspirants there are basically 2 types of race, elites with contact and elites without. You will most likely be looking for races in the West or East Flanders regions which are indicated by the abbreviations &quot;W&quot; and &quot;O&quot; respectively. Brabant (&quot;B&quot;) and Antwerp (&quot;A&quot;) can be quite accessible depending on where you are staying. <br /><br />Underneath the event location will be the distance of the race and number of laps. The distances are normally between 100-120km and are on small circuits making the racing spectator friendly. Next is the prize fund, generally a minimum of 25000BEF (£400), which goes down to 20th place. In addition to the overall prizes, primes are paid out on most laps. It will also indicate if further prizes are paid down to either 30th or 40th place. Occasionally start money is paid, it is quite a culture shock queuing up in the town's bank to sign on and then receiving money with rather than handing it over for your start number. The address of the headquarters is next, followed by the time signing on starts and closes and the time the event starts. Finally the address of the changing rooms is shown. Normally signing on is in a café with the changing rooms in anything from an old sports ground to someone's garage; so don't expect a shower afterwards! Eau de Cologne is cheap in Belgium so get some and take a flannel with you. If a third address is shown, this being where numbers are handed back and prizes collected from if different from the signing on. If you are not sure where this is, a good trick is to follow the judges when they leave the finish area! <br /><br />Events are entry on the line only, with the exception of a few evening criteriums which are entry in advance as they have a maximum field of 30-35 riders. There is no entry fee, just a deposit on your number. Normally this equates to £1 to £2 and you should get most back when you hand in your number at the end. Race number 1 is reserved for the Belgium National Champion, so start panicking when you sign on if this has been taken. Almost as important as your racing licence is a supply of safety pins as none are supplied. The officials might tell you to affix your numbers on the left side of your jersey (&quot;links&quot;) or the right (&quot;rechts&quot;) <br /><br />A point to remember is that if there is a Beloften/ espoirs (under23) race on in the province you plan to race, you must go to that race if you are under 23, or race in another province. You can not ride Elite zonder contract.(any Elite races in the province are over 23 rider only races, which are also a tad harder then the mixed normal races) <br /><br /> <br /><br />The Racing. <br /><br />Think of the fastest road race or criterium that you've ridden and add on 10%. It is rare for kermesses to take in any serious climbs but quite normal for the bunch to be travelling along the straights at 35mph (56km/h) every lap. If there is a climb watch out though as Belgium logic seems to be to go even faster and get over it as quickly as possible. A similar approach applies to any cobbled sections; don't get out the saddle and tap over the smoothest section, just shove it in a big gear and attack them. When it's windy, the first 7 riders are in echelon formation, whilst the other 50 are suffering like dogs in a long thin line in the gutter until they crack!<br />The great thing about the races is that they are always held with rolling road closures and are normally superbly marshaled. It is common for the first lap to be little more than a parade lap to get to know the circuit, so expect a lot of shouting if you attack from the start. Make sure you've had a decent warm up as once the action starts, attacks come thick are fast and frequent with riders being shelled out all the time. If a break goes, don't expect any help getting across; riders sprint across one at a time; no &quot;through and off&quot;. This can feel a little negative at first although you soon get used to it. Don't expect to finish the full distance, as unless you are in the lead group you will be pulled out early. This tends to make judging easier and provides better entertainment for the crowd (yes there is always a good crowd). With prizes going a long way, it is always worth sprinting for a place and the last lap is normally indicated by the commentator shouting &quot;laste ronde&quot;. Occasionally, this doesn't happen so keep an eye out for the chequered flag in the latter stages.
This sounds amaizingly exciting. I wish I were younger and had oppertunities earlier in my life to start cycling. My heart beats faster just reading this.
[quote author=Cadence link=board=19;threadid=2655;start=0#22811 date=1037686615]<br />This sounds amaizingly exciting. I wish I were younger and had oppertunities earlier in my life to start cycling. My heart beats faster just reading this.<br />[/quote]<br />Sounds pretty awesome hey.... a trip everyone has to make IMO
i wish belgium was just a little bit closer!!!!<br /><br />i might have to stick with club races for a while
Well I am from belgium and Vo2's text is quite complete. <br /><br />We do have some stages races and when you go further south you do have hilly races up to 600meters.<br /><br />Stage races and most non circuit races are ridden in teams and you will have to get your team enroled in advance, don't be surprised to meet various national selections in big races.<br /><br />Special hilly races for youth( debutants15-16years and juniors 17-18years) are helt in the july-august period, these are on individual basis.<br /><br />Normal debutants races are about 60km with averages mosty variing between 38 and 43 km/u max gear was last tear 50x16 but will normally become 52x16 next year.<br />Juniors ride about 90km(120 for big races) average speed varies between 40and 45km/h <br />elite race 110km with averages mostly around 44km/u but dont be surprised when you finish with averages of 48 and higher.<br /><br />The elite price system has changed the top prizes have shrunk a bit but now there is a prize up to 30th place which is 7.5 euro's(at the moment a Euro is 1US Dollar approximately) week races mostly aren't that full of racers(40 to 60) but there are exeptions just like weekends and several early season races where more than 100 and even 150 racers are common.<br /><br />circuits mostly vary from 4 up to 10km a lap. This is much different to holland our neigbouring country were laps are 1500meter or less long and where is run over a shorter distance, most races in holland are with pre race enrolment so be carefully and plan.<br /><br />Any further questions or clarification needed just ask.
[quote author=maarten link=board=19;threadid=2655;start=0#22829 date=1037699139]<br />Well I am from belgium and Vo2's text is quite complete. <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Vo2's quote was actually taken from Phil's website which is at http://users.pandora.be/phil.stone (credit where credit is due ;D )<br /><br />cheers!
Yep, the link that Phil and Steve posted is where all the info was gathered from. It's a "copy-and-paste" from the website. Sorry I didn't mention. ;)
Wow, this is so different from SA its scary!!!. Do these countries not have any races for the ordinary man in the street? Sounds all very hectic really.... 48 kph average? That is FAST..... (obviously a flat race though?)
[quote author=Rhodent link=board=19;threadid=2655;start=0#22833 date=1037700527]<br />Wow, this is so different from SA its scary!!!. Do these countries not have any races for the ordinary man in the street? Sounds all very hectic really.... 48 kph average? That is FAST..... (obviously a flat race though?)<br />[/quote]<br /><br />if you enter a decent (club) crit in australia you'll end up with an average speed of around 42-45kph.....but that's only half the story ;D I've done a couple of road races that have averaged about 48kph its really not that hard of you can hold a wheel and know how to ride deep into the red zone ;) <br /><br />cheers!
Well that is 48km/hr for the last lap, not for the complete race. Anyway, in Belgian races the focus is very much on speed, so you racing tactics are extremely important if you want to stay in front.<br /><br />You do have races for non associated riders that are a little less hard, but not much that goes under 40 km/hr average.<br /><br />You do have the cyclo-tourists though, where all levels of riders can find something (or some group) to their taste.<br /><br />Niek
The main thing that worries me about that pace is that it seems as if if you don't go that pace you don't ride. here there are guys doing anything between that (the licensed guys) and 15 kph.
the 48 is an average that has actually been realised for a whole race. <br /><br />But you have to consider that this are numbers for the northern part of our country which is flat(biggest hill maybe 200m high). Whe also have considerable peletons when you know how to ride a bunch it ain't that hard.<br /><br />Theriders that nferyn calls unassociated(some of them do belong to the cycling union) have as difference that races are only 60to 85km long also top speed is maybe 5km less but the average speeds are only slightly less dan elite. I Often ride this races and averages mostly are between 41 and 45km/u this years top I rode was 46.3 average last years was about 48-49 but this was only a 40km long race.<br /><br />only when you are older than 40 you have separated races which have most times a slower pace.<br /><br />Considering Rhodents question,<br /><br />indeed when you don't match the pace it's over, most races when you are 2to4 minutes behind the bunch you'are out. There are some crits where you can be lapped but they aren't numerous.<br /><br />There are some races for toeristen (non-regular racing riders) which have a varying pace between 34km/u average and 43km/u average depending on the organisation and who's allowed to enther(often only for inhabitants of a town or several villages), but these aren't centraly organised so you really have to know someone who knows where en when they are.<br /><br />There are also gentlemen races which are kind of a show for the public whit famous regional riders and ex-pro's. These vary in speed and often podium is known in advance, sometimes there pride takes over and tehy really try to ruin each other. To enter you wil have to be famous or to know organisation so this ain't really an option.
They should have these type of races here in South Africa. Maybe on kyalami every second week with prize money assosiated with it. 10, 15 and 20 Laps with betting booths ;). We have a couple of race tracks around the country that can be used for this type of thing. The route is a bit more difficult, but that can only make it more exciting.
I like your idea Cadence. Does Kyalami have floodlights? I know that Zwartkops does!!
Yes, I think they do. The problem with something like this is to get the right sponsor.<br /><br />
Reply to rodent's you don't race when you don't match the speed.<br /><br />I think there is a mix up considering the tram Race between Europe and your countries. <br />What I told about is what whe call a race(mostly for listed riders).<br /><br />Things you guys and girls seam to talk about like the argus and 94.7 whe don't call a race.<br /><br />This is either a Cyclosportief or a toeristen tocht(whe consider both of them recreational rides no race)<br /><br />cyclosportief is something like argus. Lots of participants, roads not always closed for traffic(most european countries are to densly poppulated), you get your time and a medal. The better you perform the better your starting group in the next events(but whith less clear rules than seeding I think). The speed you get isn't important for your possibility to enrole.<br />Most known in belgium Velomediane 174km long 23 hills, 3300 meters of hight difference<br />One of the most known in europe Marmotte 174km 5000meters of hight difference (including croix de fer, Galibier(2600meters high) and Alpe d'huez)<br /><br />Toeristen tocht<br />Just rides organised by cyclist clubs Free start between check ours, no time is mesured. Vary from 20 to 400km in one day. There are hopes of them every weekend. Very big variety from a ride around the town to the same roads as a world cup classic.<br /><br />there are also hopes of clubs or groups of people who meet somewhere and go for a ride in group some ride 20km/u others ride 40km/u
OK, I guess I understand, though I do feel a little miffed at the Argus etc not being called a race (I certainly try go fast). I think the only difference then must be that we definitely have Pro's racing for prize money etc at our "cyclosportief" races. I guess South African's are more keen on cycling as a participation format than watching the pros go round a course. Very different and I would love to see them in your countries, I think we all still want to go watch some of your racing sometime