Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is not only the opening classic of the Spring season on 29 February, it will also celebrate its 75th anniversary this year. The city of Ghent wants to put this birthday in the spotlight. A close cooperation with retailers, bar and restaurant owners and a cycling exhibition will bring the race alive in this cycling city with its rich heritage. The city of Ghent and Flanders Classics also signed a new agreement through 2025.
The city of Ghent doesn’t only show its passion for cycling by all the activities mentioned below. It also signed a new contract to remain host city for the start of the opening classic for the upcoming six editions. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will start in Ghent up to and including 2025, just like it will on Saturday 29 February of this year when the celebration of cycling by the city of Ghent will take place in ’t Kuipke with a joint team presentation for both the men’s and the women’s race.
Ghent is inextricably connected to cycling and the opening classic. That’s why the organization PuurGent contacted retailers, bar and restaurant owners in the city with the question to help make Ghent a true cycling city to honor 75 years of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
There were 75 photos selected depicting the rich history of the opening classic. From today, they are exhibited in the windows of 85 of the city’s retailers, bars and restaurants. The retailers taking part can post a picture of their poster and tag it with: #puurgent #deneerstekoersvantjaar #gentsport #OHN to win two tickets for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad or the ‘Heeren Vertrekt’ exhibition. Also, people visiting the participating retailers can win two tickets by posting a selfie with a race jersey on social media and tagging it with #deneerstekoersvantjaar.
Sofie Bracke, councilwoman of sports and economy: “Ghent can never be a true cycling city without the start of the classics’ season opening race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Flanders Classics will transform the start of the race into a real celebration of cycling appealing to both Belgians and people from around the world. For this 75th anniversary we will pull out all the stops. Our retailers are our city’s ambassadors. It is fantastic to see they immediately said yes to PuurGent when asked to show these iconic cycling pictures in their window. They make sure that the entire city will be immersed in the cycling vibe.”
Cycling lovers will really enjoy the interactive exhibition ‘Heeren, vertrekt! In de kop van de Koers’ in the St Pieter Abbey in Ghent. The exhibition starts on the 29th of February, the day of the Omloop, and runs through 26 July, the finish of the Tour de France. The exhibition features five people who know cycling through and through, like the oldest living De Ronde-winner Roger Decock and legendary sports physician Yvan Vanmol, who take the visitors behind the scenes of cycling races.
Sami Souguir, councilman of culture: “Sports and culture are linked together wonderfully in this exhibition by Historische Huizen. On the one hand there is that typical Flemish cycling DNA, which makes people outside of Flanders a little envious. On the other hand, sports and culture share common ground, namely emotion. Following several stories, we will see and experience in a special way the lives of the cyclists and their entourage.”
For people who want to experience Omloop Het Nieuwsblad themselves, the ‘Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Pre-Ride' is the place to be a week before the race. This event is jointly organized with cycling shop BATAIA. From BATAIA in Gentbrugge there will be a 75-kilometres long men’s and women’s ride with the best of the Omloop.
More info and free registration via the Facebook events:
The ultimate sports challenge takes place on Sunday 1 March when cycling enthusiasts can ride their very own Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The start and finish are at ’t Kuipke., The distances are 70, 105 or 150 kilometres.
More information can be found on www.omloophetnieuwsbladcyclo.be
Finally, Dutch former procyclist Laurens ten Dam kicks off the weekend of the opening classic with a live cycling podcast. The place to be for this kick-off of the Ghent cycling weekend is the café of Roger Decock in the St. Pieter Abbey on Friday 28 February.