1918. Next year, it will have been exactly one hundred years since the First World War came to an end. 2018 will be a year in which people all over the globe commemorate the ending of the Great War. Flanders Classics and the Ghent-Wevelgem Organisation believe this centennial provides an ideal opportunity for establishing a new race in a region that will eternally be associated with its historic battlefields:
The Great War Remembrance Race.The Great War Remembrance Race (GWRR) will entice cycling fans from Belgium and abroad to visit the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the beautiful Westhoek area for a unique racing experience with international allure: a combination of history and cycle racing. This one-day competition will become a sports highlight of the autumn season, a first-class event to suitably honour the sports heroes of today and the heroes of the Great War who gave their lives for our freedom.
Through the organisation of this new one-day competition (Category 1.1), Flanders Classics and the Ghent-Wevelgem Organisation have a clear goal in mind: to expand the international cycling calendar with a renowned classic. Although this first edition of the Great War Remembrance Race is intended to commemorate the ending of the First World War 100 years ago, this race is also intended to safeguard continuing awareness of this historic war, so that we will never forget. Or as Rudyard Kipling expressed it in his poem: "Lest we forget…"
The date: passage in Belgium at an ideal moment on the UCI cycling calendar
The date chosen for the launch of this new race is Friday, 24 August 2018. According to the UCI calendar, two WorldTour races will be taking place during this period this year: Cyclassics Hamburg in Hamburg on Sunday, 19 August and the Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France in Plouay on Sunday, 26 August. Starting next season, the GWRR would fit perfectly in between these races. Travelling from the Cyclassics Hamburg (1.UWT) to the Bretagne Classic - Ouest France (1.UWT), the North of France and the province of West Flanders would be a perfect pit stop for the international cycling teams. As the regions through which this race will be routed are ideally situated between both locations, the teams will not have to travel very far and their participation will be easy to arrange in terms of logistics.