Friday: pick up at Brussels airport
Today someone of our organization will pick you up at Brussels airport and assist you to our vehicle. We collect you from Brussels airport and bring you to our accommodation in the centre of Kortrijk where we will spend the next 10 nights in our 4 star hotel together with a few pro teams.
The first job will be to assemble your bike and the Go4Cycling staff will be on hand if you have mechanical problems or need any other assistance. We will then leave for a short ride to discover the area around the place where we stay.
Tonight a Welcome Dinner is provided at the dining room of the hotel. There, the tour leaders will explain the whole itinerary and present the program of the following ten days. Well also explain how we ride in group, the pace, the organized evening city trips, et cetera. This is a good occasion to ask any questions you might have but of course also to meet the people who you will be spending your holiday with.
Saturday: riding the cyclo version of the Tour of Flanders
Today is a big day, with a huge challenge! Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg, Koppenberg (steep and cobbled), Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg, Leberg, Berendries, Valkenberg, Eikenmolen, the Wall of Geraardsbergen and Bosberg will all be part of todays cycling challenge. Take these all at your own pace: at the top the group will wait for the others so we can descent savely. Once youve been there youll finally be able to really understand Belgium's obsession with bike racing. The Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen) is the biggest event on the Flandrian cycling calendar. Today is your opportunity to explore this great event together with about 20,000 other cyclists.
Sunday: watching the Tour of Flanders in VIP-style!
Brief history of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen:
The Ronde is one of the most prestigious of the Spring Classics, or of any cycle race. Its an endurance race in the true sense, 259 kms with more than a dozen climbs. Most of the climbs are narrow and steep and several are cobbled. They are all tough in their own way. But the pack also raises the tempo in between them as the riders want to be in a good position when the climbs start.
Our programme for today:
We will drive to the market place in the center of Antwerp. Once weve seen the official start, we will continue our journey to view the race at multiple locations on the course.
Monday: ride to Bruges (sightseeing & visit brewery)
In the morning we take you along for a bike ride through the flat landscape of the Flemish polders. In comparison with our adventure of last saturday a calm and easy ride, unless the wind is our contestant today. In the afternoon, everyone is free to discover Bruges. Bruges, the Venice of the North and the capital of West Flanders, is one of the most famous Belgian cities and by UNESCO in 2002 declared "World HeritageCity ". That same year, the residents of Bruges boasted the heritage, culture, history and art-historical patrimony, celebrating the title 'Cultural Capital of Europe'. Bruges is a rich city in every meaning of the word. Because of the long history there is much to tell about Bruges and its famous inhabitants like Jan Breydel, Pieter De Coninck, Jan van Eyck, Simon Stevin, Its thus not surprising that this city has a very high tourism rate. Tourists can discover breathtaking monuments, informative and interesting museums, city tours in horse carriages, boat tours on the famous canals of Bruges and a web of little streets to wander about. Youll be able to discover the city after this interesting bike ride. You can't visit Blegium without visiting a local brewery. We will get a guided tour in the brewery "Brugse Zot" and get to taste its different beers afterwards!
Tuesday: ride to the Tour of Flanders museum
This morning well go for a ride to the Tour of Flanders museum in Oudenaarde. The Tour of Flanders Centre is located in the historical heart of Oudenaarde and is an interactive museum. A visit consists of ten different themes. At your convenience there will be a museum guide. He will bring back alive all the cycling legends. You might even get a chance to meet one of them!
The interactive museum is all about the spirit and the heroes of the Tour. The museum has a multi-media approach with magnificent audiovisuals, projections and computersimulations. Every visitor gets the chance to experience the Tour himself. You can feel the excitement, the suffering and the happiness. You can cycle next to Schotte, Merckx or Museeuw and you can feel the cobbled stones and hills.
Wednesday: visit of Antwerp and watching "Scheldeprijs Antwerpen" in VIP-style
A colourful bunch of top sprinters presented themselves on the Schotense Churchilllaan for a breathtaking sprint. The 21-year old Britt Mark Cavendish very surprisingly won from Robbie McEwen. A new top sprinter was born! The Scheldeprijs began a new century on 16 April 2008, with bubbling ambition and in very good shape. The British sprinter Mark Cavendish proved once again he was the fastest, this time beating the Belgian star Tom Boonen. We will witness the departure at the Grand Market in Antwerp, worlds diamond center. While the riders make a big loop around Antwerp, we will have some time to explore another historical city centre. After this visit of Antwerp, we will go to Schoten to watch the finish of the race.
Thursday: bike ride along the Flemish polders and witness the last post at the Menin gate.
Today we explore the polders. Old creekbridges take you to historic settlements. We drive back through the Meetkerke Moere. On the way you will meet a number of medieval waterways as Ieperlee, Ede North and Zydelinge.
The area is a typical open landscape that has remained very cool. It is therefore the most authentic landscapes of West Flanders. Late afternoon we're expected in Ypres. This historical city was completely destroyed during World War 1, but like a phoenix she arose her ashes and became again the beautiful city of today, with a high cultural and gastronomical potential. Exact 08.00 pm each day the Lastpost is played at the Menengate, in honour of the fallen heroes, died for their countries during the first World War. Once been a witness of this ceremony, you won't forget this anymore.
Friday: ride to Ghent
A relaxing ride brings us from our hotel to the Ghent. The history of Ghent begins in the year 630 when St. - Amandus chose the site of the confluence (or Ganda) of the two rivers, the Lys and the Scheldt, to construct an abbey. Nearly 1,400 years of history are still palpable in the city today: a medieval castle surrounded by a moat, an imposing cathedral, a belfry, three beguinages, ... Nowhere else youll find that much history per square meter than in the historical heart of Ghent! Ghent has big chain stores next to authentic boutiques, trendy shops next to traditional ones. We invite you to our historical and gastronomical banquet. While proceeding our way through the streets of Ghent we get to know the history of this amazing city, where was the palace of the Count of Flanders, how did people of Ghent live under the reign of Emperor Charles, where dwelled the girls of the street... While exploring so the innercity were visiting some inns and will enjoy our different courses.
Saturday: riding the "Hell of the North" - Paris-Roubaix Challenge
Another big day! Today youll be in the famous Arenberg Forest yourself during our own version of "Paris-Roubaix". For us, with no doubt, this is an extraordinary classic. After riding on several cobbled sections you will be begging to stop! You will feel some muscles of which you didnt even realise their existence! Always feel free to skip a cobbled section and do it in a little bit more convenient way, in the escorting van! The last sections are well cobbled and will bring you to the Vélodrome of Roubaix. This moment will kick adrenaline in your body and give you unforgettable memories. There are 3 distances available: 70 – 140 – 170km. This evening, no city excursion, your bed will feel double as comfortable. Youll need a good night rest.
Sunday: watching Paris Roubaix in VIP-style
Brief history of Paris-Roubaix
Paris-Roubaix is a single-day pro race held in northern France starting in Compiègne and finishing in Roubaix, near the Belgian border. Famous for its rough terrain and cobblestone roads, it is regarded as one of the Classics of the European professional cycling and carries the nickname The Hell of the North.
Our program for today:
We will head to the startarea in Compiegne where each rider will have to sign in one at a time. Once the race is off, so will we! We will see the race on several occasions, but will hurry ourselves to the first cobbled sections to catch our first glimpse of the peloton. From then on and with the help of your knowledgeable team of guides, we will race against the pros (by car!) to see them along the route.
Once the race is over we will head back to Belgium (Roubaix is almost on the border with Belgium) for our final overnight and dinner together.
Monday: a goodbye from Go4Cycling
The trip ends and we head our different ways. Maybe well see you again on another tour. We will have a bus available to shuttle people to the airport during the day.