The first Gent-Wevelgem ever took place on Sunday 09/09/1934. Now, 86 years later there, is a chance that there will be a Gent-Wevelgem for the second time in the autumn. On Sunday 11th of October 2020 both the Elite Men and Women will take the start under the Menin Gate in Ypres.
The organizers are delighted that Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields received a spot among the grand tours and monuments on the provisional calendar of this special cycling year.
They also see it as their responsibility to still give road racing opportunities in 2020. For sponsors, teams and riders, it is of great importance that there are still as many opportunities as possible to show themselves. A race like Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields couldn't and shouldn't be missed.
Weekend of the Low Countries
In the same weekend, on Saturday, the Amstel Gold Race will take place pursuant the new cycling calendar. The relationship between the two race organisations is excellent. Leo Van Vliet, race director of the AGR for Elite Men, won Gent-Wevelgem in 1983 and over the years the connection has only grown. Both organisers are talking together to turn it into a logical, well-organised 'two-day cycling festival'. This is especially important for the women's peloton as they have less staff, logistics and riders at their disposal.
The course will undergo some changes. The traditional passage over French roads will no longer be included for this edition. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus, it is not appropriate to organize a competition that crosses the national border. More news in the coming weeks.
The DNA of the race with the Moeren, the Plugstreets and the Kemmelberg will be preserved.
7 races in Flanders Fields not in 2020
Gent-Wevelgem is well-known for its 7 races in Flanders Fields since 2016. Besides the Elite Women and Elite Men WorldTour, the organisation also puts a lot of effort into youth cycling, with races for U17, Juniors and the U23 Nations' Cup. Also the Kattekoers Ypres is part of these 7 races.
For this autumn edition it is the intention that only the Elite Men's and Women's races will be organized. There are still too few certainties about the possible entry of 700 youth cyclists from all over the world to be able to make commitments in the short term. However, the desire to bring this unique event back in the spring of 2021 is already great at the Yperse Cycling Club, the Sasspurters from Boezinge and the Organization Gent-Wevelgem.
Looking forward to Sunday October 11th, then hopefully the successors of Alexander Kristoff and Kirsten Wild will reveal themselves on the Via Vanackere in Wevelgem !
Photo (c) Sigfrid Eggers