Flanders Classics and KPMG Belgium have announced their new collaboration in women’s cycling today. Flanders Classics, renowned for its one day races, and the international provider of audit and consultancy services will work together to improve the overall level of the organizer’s women’s cycling races. The 3-year plan drawn up by Flanders Classics to professionalize women’s cycling further called ‘Flanders Classics Women, closing the gap’ was presented at the Brussels KPMG head office.
The efforts Flanders Classics puts into women’s cycling are not new. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, is the season opener, just like it is for the men’s peloton. Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields and the Tour of Flanders with its 17th edition already this year, are already part of the Women’s WorldTour. Dwars door Vlaanderen and De Brabantse Pijl take the total amount of races to five. Despite these achievements there is room to take the professionalization of women’s cycling even further. This is the field where Flanders Classics and KPMG will work together.
Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics explains: “As Flanders Classics we have always been trying to help move women’s cycling forward. We think it’s now time to move into a higher gear. Women’s cycling is already growing at many levels but there is still a lot of potential left. We are very happy and grateful with a partner like KPMG who want to work together with us in the development of the sport in the upcoming years. Hopefully it also inspires other companies to invest in the sport.”
Stefanie Pauwels, Partner at KPMG, explains why KPMG joins Flanders Classics. “We deliberately chose this partnership. It’s close to our DNA, close to the values and standards we have as a company. Within KPMG we want to create opportunities and stimulate everyone to aim for the top as well. We are therefore very happy to see these big steps forward being taken in a sport for and by women. This sponsorship can be the driving force to that extra bit of growth for women’s cycling, it will bring great joy and satisfaction to me personally and to KPMG Belgium in general.”
Closing the gap. With this tag line Flanders Classics has set itself concrete targets by 2023. “To start with, we listened to all stakeholders and will upgrade the facilities around our women’s races. On the sports side of things,“ Tomas Van Den Spiegel explains, “a Scheldeprijs for women to complete the list of Spring Classics is one of the things on our list. The same goes for an upgrade of our non-World Tour races to the ProSeries or WorldTour and the aim to equalize prize money.”
Flanders Classics also wants to solidify the already existing partnerships towards the future. “We have a great partnership with VRT (the Belgian national broadcaster) to produce the live broadcasts of Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, and livestreams for the other races with our main partner Proximus. It’s common sense that we also want to further develop the potential of the audiovisual product,” Tomas Van Den Spiegel concludes.
New in 2020
The project with KPMG will be evaluated in 2023. “We are really looking forward to working together. It generates a great deal of enthusiasm,” Koen Maerevoet, CEO of KPMG Belgium says. “It’s a great pleasure to support this series of the most beautiful one-day races in the world and help grow women’s cycling further. This sponsorship by KPMG is a decision to help improve women’s cycling overall. We are ready for the start of the new season!”
The new season is just around the corner and we have some new things to announce. “Dwars door Vlaanderen won’t start in Tielt anymore but moves to Waregem making Waregem the center of the last race before the Tour of Flanders,” Tomas Van Den Spiegel explains. “The start of De Brabantse Pijl moves from Gooik to Lennik. This means that the women will fight for the win in Overijse for the first time and ride the same finale as their male counterparts. The starts in Waregem, Lennik and Oudenaarde will be hosted by Ruben Van Gucht and he will be joined by a DJ on stage. Moving the start of Gent-Wevelgem to Ieper offers us a second chance to present the men’s and women’s teams to the public at the same time, like we already have done for the past years in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.”
Flanders Classics is looking forward to this new project with great enthusiasm. Omloop Het Nieuwsbald at ‘t Kuipke in Ghent will kick it off. On February 29th Linde Merckpoel and Stijn Vlaeminck welcome all men’s and women’s teams in this historical cycling venue. Both pelotons will then take off for their opening classic and a new Flanders Classics Spring campaign.