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Ghent - Wevelgem. Advice/experience

Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,172
edited January 2011 in Pro race
Chaps and chapesses I wonder if I can pick your brains?

I'm looking to celebrate my birthday next March by going to watch Ghent-Wevelgem, but I've never done this kind of thing before. Can anyone offer advice, dos and don'ts or even recomment hotels.

I won't be taking my bike (or at least I won't be heading down there by bike) because my friend joining me isn't a cyclist. Will it be as chocker as TdF? Mainly outsiders like me or mainly locals at the roadside?

Really anything you think I might find useful in planning the trip. Many thanks!

Ben
Ben

Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
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Posts

  • pedro118118pedro118118 Posts: 1,101
    The Kemmelberg seems to be where the excitement is, as much of the modern route takes in very small villages and towns spanning the border and having ridden the route last year, much of the early part of the race is on very small rural roads.

    Kemmel is a nice enough town - I'm sure there are plenty of B&Bs/hotels in the nearby vicinity. My tip would be take in the start in Ghent and then make your way to Kemmel.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,172
    Thanks Pedro. Noted.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
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  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    Ben6899 wrote:
    Will it be as chocker as TdF? Mainly outsiders like me or mainly locals at the roadside?
    It will be busy and 99% locals by the road, 87% of whom will be cycling nutters, like most of the Belgium population in Spring.

    The suggestions are good so far. Buy a local newspaper, one that lists all the riders and their race numbers. Then get to the start and watch the signing on, you will see all the riders clacking around in their cycling shoes and doing the signing on. Once they are underway get to the Kemmelberg, but when you park up nearby, scout for a good café/bar with a TV and remember the location. Indeed, think about having lunch like the locals do, a few Duvels washed down with some sausage and chips.

    Then watch the race go by, hopefully a couple of times if they keep the route, and then get back to the bar to watch the race on TV and absorb the atmosphere as the inhabitants root for their local riders.

    After a day in the cold, think about where to spend the evening.

    It does take a bit of planning to get it right but it helps.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,172
    Awesome. Thanks Kléber. And Merry Christmas.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,549 Lives Here
    The difference is probably that around 40% of the crowd there will be more knowledgable than you about cycling - rather than at the Tour, where about 0.0001% know more!
  • I'll throw in my 10p worth, been to see it a couple of times, once where I saw this on the descent...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3sSxa5AuGM

    Anyway, the race, despite it's name doesn't start in Gent, it starts in Deinze, although I don't think I'd bother going. Like alot of races in Belgium, the riders are barriered off in a VIP area so you can't really see too much. They had a stage in the centre of the town which the riders would ride to from the VIP area, sign on and then head back to the VIP area and the team bus. Not really worth it in my view.

    I'd head straight for Kemmel, as has already been mentioned. Both times I've been I've parked in a small "green" in Kemmel then walked up to the Kemmelberg to watch the race. Not sure how to link to a map, but if you copy "50.783053,2.826219" into Google maps and it should take you there.

    Hope that helps and you enjoy the race!
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,172
    Thank you! All great advice so far... now I just need to get my hands on a VW California before March. :-)
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • jarnevjarnev Posts: 1
    Hi Ben,

    Here's the road map from last year:
    http://www.routeyou.com/route/view/284990/cycle-route-gw-2010-217km.en
    I don't expect it to change a lot this year.
    You can see the loop in the 'Heuvelland', where the 'bergs' are.
    The kemmelberg is marked. That's the place you should go.
    They pass there twice, around 15H15 and 16H15.
    In between, you can have a drink in the cafe on top of the berg, of go back down to kemmel village.
    There are tv's in every pub, and on the kemmelberg itself i think there's even a big screen.

    How long are you staying? I can give you some more info to plan the day, since i'm living here in belgium.

    Also, the day before on saturday, you can ride the track yourself in the race for cycling tourists and amateurs (wich costs 10€).
    You can choose between 90/120/180km and it starts and finishes in wevelgem.
    The 120km and 180km version go over the same bergs as the pro's (but only 1 loop) so i suggest you ride one of these.
    I'm riding the tour too, because i think it's just great to see and feel what the riders will be struggling trough the next day.


    grtz,
    jarne
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