We Ride Flanders moves to Saturday 18 September 2021
We Ride Flanders, the Ronde van Vlaanderen for cycling enthusiasts, will exceptionally be organised in September in 2021. After all, it is unrealistic to already put a recreational event of this size in the diary this spring in view of the continuing corona pandemic. That is why We Ride Flanders will be moved from 3rd April to 18th September, the eve of the Road World Championships that will be touch down on Flemish soil for an entire week.
The pros will ride their Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday 4th April this year. Tradition dictates that on the eve of that event We Ride Flanders gives thousands of amateur cyclists from Belgium and abroad the chance to hurtle along the course and get the ultimate Flandrien experience. However, corona threw a spanner in the works.
“Reality and consultations with the various authorities have taught us that we cannot organise a large-scale recreational event in the beginning of April”, says Carl Vansteenkiste of Peloton. “The prospects look a lot better after the summer holidays. That is why we are moving We Ride Flanders to Saturday 18th September. As an organisation we want to make sure that our participants can take part ‘safely’ and that they get sufficient time to prepare as best as they can.”
“Nevertheless, We Ride Flanders 2021 will be a tour of the same iconic hills and famous stretches of cobblestones as in spring and we will organise this “special edition” together with our partners with the same passion as always”, emphasises Vansteenkiste. “Preferably – if it can be done safely – with supporters all along the course to help make it one big cycling party again. And hopefully with some rays of sunshine, because summer’s still in the air mid September. It will be your one chance to ride the Ronde in short sleeves!”
Peter Wouters, Counciller for Sport for the City of Antwerp: “We need to keep pushing just a bit longer and then we can beat that wretched virus by autumn once and for all. The City of Antwerp is hoping to inspire, stimulate and engage all fans of sport with a busy calendar of sports events. The 18th of September will be marked in red in the diaries of many Belgian and international fans of cycling very soon. As the proud starting point of the Ronde van Vlaanderen and of course also the start of We Ride Flanders, the City of Antwerp is looking forward to welcoming thousands of passionate riders. On this exceptional occasion not one day before Flanders’ Finest, but exactly one week before the battle for the rainbow jersey erupts in Antwerp. Cycling enthusiasts will get the opportunity to finally get swept up in a peloton like true pros and Flandriens after all those intensive and inevitable often lonely weeks of training.”
“We fully support the decision”, adds the Mayor of Oudenaarde Marnic De Meulemeester. “It seems much more sensible to us not to organise an event where we cannot guarantee safety but rather to focus on a fully-fledged and safe edition in September. Everybody who was had the chance to cycle through the region of De Ronde will know why this is the area cherished by thousands of cycling enthusiasts. And we will do everthing we can once again to welcome them back here”.
Participants of We Ride Flanders can choose from four races. The 74, 142 and 177 km start and finish in Oudenaarde. The 235 km also finishes in Oudenaarde, but sets off in Antwerp. All four distances feature iconic hills like the Koppenberg, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. All participants registered for 2020 – when We Ride Flanders could not go ahead due to corona – will be notified personally and have an automatic right to start on 18th September 2021 or the scheduled ‘regular’ edition of We Ride Flanders in spring 2022.