100 days until the European Championships in Flanders
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100 days until the European Championships in Flanders

In exactly 100 days, Limburg will be the scene of a great cycling event. For it is then, from 11 until 15 September, that Flanders' easternmost province will be hosting the 2024 UEC Road European Championships. Today, the countdown clocks were inaugurated and the organisation presented a European Championships story for children, shared more info about the official European Championships ride and introduced a talk show called ‘Helden van de Koers’ designed to boost the championships fever in Limburg.

After the World Cycling Championships in 2021, the European Cycling Championships are coming to Flanders at the end of this summer. The province of Limburg will be the setting for this Flemish first. The Flemish Minister of Tourism: "Flanders is, after all, a cycling country. It is in our DNA. And in Flanders there is no better cycling province than Limburg. So it is only logical that the European Championships are coming to our ‘bronze green oak’. I am extremely proud that we have been able to bring this event to our region. But Limburg also has a lot to offer the cycling visitor. Do you want to rival the participants at the European Championships and give your all? Do you like to enjoy our natural beauty while cycling through the water, the trees or the heathland? Or do you prefer cycling from terrace to terrace? In cycling paradise Limburg, it is all possible."

The Flemish Minister of Sport: "Ever more frequently, we are bringing top sporting events to Flanders; in 2021 the World Cycling Championships, this year the European Cycling Championships. Abroad, this is golden advertising for Heusden-Zolder, for Hasselt, for Limburg and for Flanders. And at home, it is golden advertising for the sport of cycling. See sport, do sport. Being able to witness world-class performances is motivation to hop on a bike yourself. Flanders has built up a rich tradition in cycling and we should really be proud of that."

Heusden-Zolder: starting place

All the races will be starting in Heusden-Zolder, namely in the shadow of the brand new Velodrome. Mayor Mario Borremans: "Racing is in the DNA of Heusden-Zolder. As the start location, we are proud once again be at the epicentre of such a major cycling event. These championships are not only a sporting highlight, but also an opportunity to showcase the hospitality of our residents and local entrepreneurs. We look forward to seeing the champions sparkle in the velodrome and on our roads. Let the countdown begin!"

Hasselt: finishing place

In total, no fewer than 14 new champions will be receiving a gold medal and a European jersey at the finish in Hasselt. Mayor Steven Vandeput: "For the city of Hasselt, the European Cycling Championships are the icing on the cake marking a revitalised cycling experience in our city and province. For sporting, recreational and everyday cycling, Hasselt is the ideal base. By bringing major cycling events to our city, we want to highlight that even more."

"As a top sports city, we are naturally delighted that the finishing line for the European Championships is in Hasselt," said Habib El Ouakili, Hasselt Alderman for sport. The city of Hasselt, that has also hosted the Ronde van Limburg for several years, can now crown itself as the cycling city in the cycling province of Limburg. "These European Championships are of course the icing on the cake. Such a fantastic sporting event is not only a fantastic boost for our cycling sport, it also brings the necessary ambiance once again to our city."

The countdown clock in Hasselt is a collaboration with Hogeschool UCLL and it will count down in a sustainable manner. Bikes have been installed in the container. Passers-by who get on the bikes, pedal for a while and do their sporting bit, ensure that the clock has enough energy to count down to September 11.

Marc Vandewalle, Managing Director Hogeschool UCLL: "We hope that the students and residents of Hasselt and the vicinity will come here to ‘make a sprint’ and help power the clock. No doubt they are curious about the technical background and working of this system that has been specially developed by our UCLL students and researchers at UCLL expertise centre Sustainable Resources.  We are delighted to be able to showcase our expertise for such a large sporting event here in Limburg which, for the next 100 days, we are eagerly looking forward to!"

In the rest of the province too, those 5 race days are already marked in the diary. Indeed, an international cycling event offers many opportunities to highlight Limburg as the perfect Flemish cycling province.

Bert Lambrechts, deputy commissioner for mobility and regional marketing, among others: "With the European Championships, we of course want to highlight all the positive aspects of our province and, at the same time, inspire our own residents, our schoolchildren and our students to use the bike even more often, recreationally, for sport, but also functionally. That is why we are steadily expanding our functional cycling network and also investing heavily in the construction of new cycling highways."

"The European Cycling Championships are followed by millions of viewers in dozens of different countries. This is obviously an opportunity for our province to make a lasting impression. The course very nicely shows the diversity of landscapes in our province: ideal to explore by bike. With the Limburg hospitality, we can convince visitors to stay longer or come back later for a stay in Limburg," says Igor Philtjens, deputy and chairman of Visit Limburg.

For the children

To get even the very young excited about the European Championships, the organisation today presented the unique European Championships booklet. It is tailor-made for children in year 3, but can perfectly be read to younger children. The main protagonists in the story are mascots Bob and Billie. The story highlights how girls can race just as well as boys. The story also incorporates themes like safety and perseverance.

Helden van de Koers

At the end of August, the talk show ‘Helden van de Koers’ (Heroes of the Race) will be travelling through Limburg. The live conversation evening about the races will stop in De Zille in Ham (20/08), at Malpertuus in Riemst (21/08), at the Extra Time in Bocholt and at a square farm near the cobblestone section of Manshoven in Borgloon (28/08). Among others, José De Cauwer and Jolien D’Hoore will be regular guests. In Borgloon, Tom Dumoulin and Fleur Moors will also be present. Due to the limited number of tickets, advance registration is required, but each conversation evening is free to attend.

Best of Limburg

Cycling and cycle racing fans can explore the European Championships course for themselves on Sunday 8 September during Best of Limburg, the official European Championships ride. With distances ranging between 20 and 140 km, Best of Limburg has something for every cyclist, including a tour specifically for e-bikers. The longer distances head to Haspengouw and explore the cobblestone sections and hills that will colour the European Championships. All the rides start in Hasselt and finish under the official finishing arch. A passage along the Velodrome in Heusden-Zolder, where all the races will start, is of course also included in the course.