Emmily Talpe, Mayor of the City of Ypres: “We are very proud of this co-operation. The fact that such a major sporting event comes to Ypres is a big thing for our image. It puts Ypres on the international map again after the past WW1 commemoration period and the media attention for such a race is huge. It is a fantastic opportunity for us and, after the start of the leg of the Tour de France in 2014, another top-level sporting event that we welcome. The City of Ypres therefore wants to grasp this co-operation to further profile itself as a sports city and as a host city for major events.”
A strengthened co-operation!
For Ghent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields, Ypres as the start location feels like “coming home”. From 1945 to 1991 the race passed through Ypres without interruptions and that tradition was reinstated in 2013.
The Ghent-Wevelgem / Ypres partnership is actually not new. In 2016 the City of Ypres, together with the Royal Ypres Cycling Club and the Royal Cycling Club de Sas Spurters Boezinge, already entered into a partnership. Ypres has been the starting place for 3 of the 7 races taking place on the last Sunday of March for 3 years already: Ladies Elite Ladies, U23 Men Beloften (Ghent-Wevelgem Kattekoers), Junior U19 Men (Ghent-Wevelgem GP André Noyelle). In the Boezinge borough 3 junior Ghent-Wevelgem are organised (U19 and U17 Women and the Katjeskoers U17 Men).
From 2020, the Men's Elite race will also start on the majestic Market Square, surrounded by the Menin Gate and St. Martin's Cathedral and in the shadow of the Cloth Hall with Belfry (UNESCO World Heritage).
Ypres as partner of Ghent-Wevelgem.
The new city council immediately expressed an interest in seeing the start shot of the Men's Elite race fired on the historic market square of Ypres. The negotiations were started and this resulted in a co-operation agreement for the next six years.
The city estimates the economic returns to be high. Many cycling fans will come to Ypres on the last weekend of March for the start of the Ghent-Wevelgem race. There is plenty of room to accommodate the professional teams. A youth programme is also being developed in co-operation with the organisation of the Kattekoers. The city is planning additional incentives in terms of tourism (active promotion for a varied city break, continuous promotion of the Ghent-Wevelgem cycling route in Flanders Fields with passage through Ypres, stimulating residential tourism in the Ghent-Wevelgem period with a commitment to maximum hotel occupancy, ...). By the way, the City of Ypres aims to make this a multi-day event, a social event with numerous activities, involving the local associations, catering and accommodation businesses, and all the Ypres residents tout court….
Emmily Talpe, Mayor of the City of Ypres:
“The City of Ypres and Ghent-Wevelgem have now concluded an agreement for 6 years (2020 - 2025). The loss of The Great War Remembrance Race made it financially possible for us to organise the start here in addition to the Ghent-Wevelgem passage. And also not unimportant: this way we guarantee the future of the Kattenkoers, GP André Noyelle and the races in Boezinge. (Vliegend Wiel vzw and Sas Spurters Boezinge). These competitions are written into the DNA of our city and are an important pillar in the life of our associations."
The City of Ypres also has experience in organising major events such as a Tour de France leg in 2014, the annual Rally, the Kattenstoet, Gevleugelde Stad, an impressive series of WW1 commemorations with the presence of many world leaders - even the BBC broadcast live from our Grote Markt for a whole day. We are ready.”
The DNA of Ghent-Wevelgem, racing through history.
The Ghent-Wevelgem route in Flanders Fields is a quartet.
The endless plain of the Moeren - the merciless Kemmelberg - the historic Plugstreets and that long straight stretch from Ypres to Wevelgem, all constantly skirting the front line from 100 years ago.
Along the numerous cemeteries, in front of and through monuments, the race crosses the former war landscape, and it is not by accident that Ghent-Wevelgem carries the subtitle “In Flanders Fields”.
By bringing not only a passage but also the start of its Men's Elite race to Ypres, the organisation strengthens its identity even more.
As a proud pillar of the famous Flanders Classics series, Ghent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields pays tribute to the victims and heroes of World War I. It commemorates the more than 600,000 fallen in our country, for our country. Each of the 425,000 graves in the front region tells a story, a story the race wants to continue telling, remembering and respecting. A tribute to those who fought and died on the battlefields of Flanders Fields.
Ghent-Wevelgem, just like the City of Ypres, wants to be a symbol of peace. A call to ensure that nations fight each other only in the world of sports, which connects people.
Ghent-Wevelgem and the future of cycle racing
Nowhere in the world does an organisation present 7 races at the highest level in 1 day. It is and remains unique.
7 categories: juniors and pros, men and women, all 7 winners, together on the podium in Wevelgem.
Toddlers, pre-schoolers and children, cycling tourists and cycling fans will also be in their element during the Ghent-Wevelgem weekend.
Ghent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields therefore wants to contribute to the basis of cycling and to the further development of cycling sports in the broadest sense.
Thank you Deinze!
The organisation of Ghent-Wevelgem also wishes to express its gratitude to the city of Deinze for the excellent co-operation during the past 17 editions.