Overijse and Flanders Classics work together the whole year round
Next Saturday, 19 August, a new edition of the Vlaamse Druivenkoers is scheduled. The road race that takes place on Overijse soil, is one of the annual collaborations between the municipality of Overijse and event organisation Flanders Classics. The two parties join forces in both the winter and the summer. The result? Cycling events that showcase the strengths of the grape municipality.
In the meantime, the collaboration between the municipality of Overijse and Flanders Classics has come to be one based on solid foundations. Ever since Flanders Classics came into being in 2010 as the umbrella organiser of the six spring classics, Overijse has been the fixed finishing location for De Brabantse Pijl.
"In recent years, the last of our series of spring classics has acquired an even larger identity", says Flanders Classics CEO Tomas Van Den Spiegel. “The Overijse region offers a specific landscape, which is perfectly suited for the race that forms the transition between the cobblestones, on the one hand, and the Ardennes hills on the other. It is not only the professionals, but also recreational cyclists who particularly relish the area, and the Moskesstraat undoubtedly plays a role in that. During the 2021 World Championships, the now iconic cobblestone climb, located on Overijse soil, had its moment in the sun. Since then, De Brabantse Pijl and Overijse have been showcasing the legacy of a fantastic piece of cycling history every April.”
"We are really proud of the cycling tradition that prevails in Overijse", says mayor Inge Lenseclaes. "Our Vlaamse Druivenkoers, the Vlaamse Druivencross, De Brabantse Pijl, the passage of the World Championships in 2021 and the arrival of the European Gravel Championship in 2024 and, of course, the many local races: our steep climbs and challenging cobbled sections always provide a good dose of cycling fun, both for riders and supporters. Saturday, the Justus Lipsiusplein will definitely be the heart of the race: together with other supporters, this is where you can fully enjoy the racing spectacle in the S-bend. Whoever wins, together we will make it a big cycling party! This year, the Druivenkoers provides a foretaste of the Druivenfeesten, the highlight of the year in our municipality. From Friday 25 to Wednesday 30 August, performances on the Begijnhof and Just. Lipsiusplein, the Grape Procession, the night market and flea market, the Scouts' Village, the Grape Race, the fair, ... will ensure a real festival, with fun for young and old. See you soon, in Overijse!"
(Read on below the photo)
Vlaamse Druivenkoers Overijse
Recreational cyclists can explore the area, year in year out, thanks to the De Brabantse Pijl Cycling Route, a free, signposted tour that highlights all the cycling assets of Overijse. Some of these assets can be found on the agenda on Saturday during the Vlaamse Druivenkoers, where Flanders Classics and cycling club De Sportvrienden Overijse have joined forces. These include, for example, the famous S-bend with the extra twist of Taeymansstraat and Veeweidestraat, both part of the 2021 World Championships, as well as the Smeysberg a little further along in Huldenberg. New on the menu on Saturday is the Stroobantsstraat which, together with the S-bend, Veeweidestraat and Smeysberg, is part of the first four local loops.
In the finale on Saturday, four more tough loops await, with once again the trio S-bend - Veeweide - Smeysberg plus newcomer Horenberg in Eizer. In other words, cycling fans can enjoy a full day of racing in the heart of Overijse, because the start (12:30), the finish (16:40) and no less than seven passages over the finish are all part of the day’s programme. Discover the provisional start list here.
Mother of all crosses
Just as with the Vlaamse Druivenkoers, Flanders Classics is collaborating with cycling club De Sportvrienden Overijse in organising the Druivencross, this year part of the Telenet Superprestige (22 October). The Druivencross enables Overijse to highlight its deep-rooted cycling tradition in the realm of cyclo-cross. Indeed, the race is known as the Mother of all crosses and is a classic which, thanks to the tough course, has been the subject of numerous stories in cyclo-cross history.
Another of these stories will be written on 22 October. On this occasion, Flanders Classics will be joining forces with Special Olympics. This year, the Druivencross forms part of the Nieuwsblad Cycling Series, a world first in which seven top-level cycling events include a race for the Special Olympics athletes in their programme. In October, the Vlaamse Druivencross will go down in history as the very first cyclo-cross event where Special Olympics athletes will compete in their race a few hours before the professionals.
“Our collaboration with the municipality of Overijse is built on mutual trust”, Van Den Spiegel concludes. “We work well and enjoy working together. As an organisation, we are particularly pleased to be able to count on the support of such a loyal partner. Together, in Overijse, we are writing a beautiful and particularly varied cycling story, and both the municipality of Overijse and ourselves can be very proud of that.”