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Presentation on theme: "2012.12.09 BELGIUM & CYCLING A 100 YEAR LOVE AFFAIR."— Presentation transcript:


2 Belgium founded in 1830 Two strong regional traditions Flanders (Dutch speaking) and Wallonia (French speaking) Cycling has strong links to Medieval knighthood traditions Horse + knight = bike + rider Colourful outfits, helmet, armour & flags Individual glory on the « battle field » extends to the clan Why did it catch on so strongly?

3 Belgium founded in 1830 Liège-Bastogne-Liège (L-B-L) (1892) – Oldest pro race in the world Paris-Roubaix (1896) - – first Belgian winner (1908) Tour of Flanders (1913) Tour de France (1903) – first Belgian winner (1912) Philippe Thys ( 13, 14, 20) - The Armstrong that never was… Belgium is 2 nd country in stage wins and 2 nd in tours won Merckx co-owns the record at 5 and won a record 32 tour stages Historical races

4 Paris Roubaix L – B - L Tour of Flanders Amstel Gold Race France Holland

5 Romance and Pagan Religion Press continues to use very romantic and heraldic language and Medieval flags became modern again Newspapers became pioneer organisers and made big profits on readership – Literary genre! Very important: it is free for all! Amateur re-enactments on the same roads = 15,000 pilgrims Yearly ritual with « holy » locations; especially the « Mountain of Odin » an ancient celtic temple converted into a Catholic church. Now known as « De Muur » (the Wall)

6 Cyclists have always been recruited from the lower levels of society, especially farmboys perception of lower class labour Turn of the Millennium new breed of riders Riders became celebrities beyond their sporting abilities Tom Boonen, Frank Vandenbroucke, Philippe Gilbert Television broadcasts are prime time TV, all year long Cyclo Cross takes off in Flanders, rescuing the sport – 12/12 cycling on TV! Perceptions change

7 The pyramid of success is in place Big names come and go… Doping ravages the sport… But the youth academies and local leagues continue unabated The future is assured by the system and by local business involvement Cycling as the « new golf » Cycling becomes attractive to women From « old school » to « hip »

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