2023 Spring Classics – Cobbles and Bergs
Ride two cycle sportives and see the classics Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders.
Experience the passion for Spring in the north of Europe. Hosted by a local former professional cyclist.
If you are a true Cycling Enthusiast then you have to see a Classic once in your life!
PopularAT A GLANCE
- 11 Days
- Intermediate to Experienced
- 5 Dinners, 4 Lunches
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
- Support Vehicle
- Mechanical Assistance
- Navigational Guidance
TBC – Brussels, Belgium, April 1, 2023
TBC – Brussels, Belgium, April 1, 2023
Group Size: 15 guests – 3 staff
Rides: Sealed roads, some bikeways and Cobble Stones
Challenge Rating: Some small hills – Cobble Stones
Accommodation: 3 to 4 star hotels, twin share, optional single supplement when booking
Social Riding and Leisure: We understand that your cycling holiday is a HOLIDAY! We understand that you don’t normally ride everyday at home. Our ride routes cherry-pick the best areas.
Experienced Riders: Your cycling holiday is all actually about the bike! Our epic and challenge ride options seek more vertical metres and longer miles.
Buffet breakfast every day, 5 dinners and 4 picnic lunches
- Professional and experienced cycling guides
- 10 nights accommodation – 3 star apartment (Gent), a quality 4 star Hotel (Ieper) and 4 star hotel in Zaventem.
- Travel in air-conditioned vehicles
- Transfers from designated collection and drop-off locations
- All meals (as listed on itineraries)
- Mechanical assistance with your bike
- Ride nutrition (including drinking water, sport powders and bars / muffins and fruit)
- Tour ride jersey and bib-shorts
- Ride files and detailed tour itinerary
- Entry to Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix Sportif
Why we Love this Tour
- Ride the Tour of Flanders Cycle Sportive event and the Paris Roubaix Cycle Sportive event.
- See two of the greatest races in the world and a semi-classic:
- Tour of Flanders
- Grote Scheldeprijs
- Paris Roubaix
- Ride the famous roads with Eric de Clercq, an ex Belgian Pro
- Visit the Tour of Flanders Centre and Museum
- Visit traditional Belgium Brewery
- Experience Belgian Hospitality
- Immerse yourself in a true Cycling Culture
- Visit Flanders Fields and Ieper with the Menin Gate and Battle Field Tour.
- Be part of a Pro Tour Team on race day.
Price: AUD $TBC (twin share)
Single Supplement: AUD $TBC
Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room. If travelling alone we will match you with a person to share. Alternatively, you may choose to have a room of your own by paying the single supplement.
Note: It is a requirement of Bikestyle Tours that you have Travel Insurance for your trip.
When is Paris-Roubaix?
Paris-Roubaix is raced during Spring in Northern France. The route is about 250km in length and starts from Compiègne to a finish on the Roubaix velodrome. But, in getting there cyclists have to navigate more than 20 sectors of cobbles. They are normally slippery, either as it is dusty or they are wet. Surviving each sector requires riding near the front.
Therefore, riders race to the entry of each sector. In doing so, they increase their average speed. It is a race about surviving and staying out of trouble. The intensity lifts again for the last 90km, marked by the entry to Forest d’Arenburg and is the most feared sector of cobbles.
To stay out of trouble is one thing, but to do it with the least amount of effort, only sometimes converts to success at Roubaix. Hell of the North is a tough race.
Tour of Flanders is a week earlier
Only one week earlier, most of the riders lined up for Belgium’s biggest race, Tour of Flanders. Locally, it is known as Ronde van Vlaanderen, the Ronde.
Over 80% of the population of Belgium tune into the race in one way or another. It is the race that stops the nation. It is marked by the famous cobbled bergs, or walls, of Koppenberg, Kwaremont, Paterberg and many others.
Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders are raced in similar way.
Hosted by local Belgian and former professional cyclist, Eric de Clercq
Share the local roads of Eric de Clercq, the Tour of Flanders typically passes his front door. He can certainly claim home ground advantage. He came very close one year almost being the sole survivor in the breakaway.
Eric’s career of 11 years saw him win 19 victories including a stage win in the Tour of Britain. He is one of the hard men of Belgium. Eric rode for:
- La William-Duvel from 1991-1993
- Collstrop from 1994-2002
You will find Eric a wonderful host as he shares his experiences with professional cycling teams. From racing, to sports director, professional soigneur to hosting team VIP’s during race-day. You will learn an incredible insight into the Spring Classics races, as well as meet some of the riders and managers.
Most of all, Eric is a great guide who cares for your experience and he is a pleasure to spend time with on and off the bike.
Spring Classics - Cobbles and Bergs Tour Itinerary - Dates TBC
Welcome to the Spring Classics and Gent.
We start today with our staff meeting you at Zaventem airport in Brussels at 11.30 am and transfer you to our first hotel in beautiful, lively Gent, our base for the next 6 nights where you can unpack and settle in.
The first job will be to assemble your bike and Bikestyle staff will be on hand if you have mechanical problems or need any other assistance.
Centrally located in Gent, it is ideal for visiting the historic city or to the other neighbouring Flemish Cities of Art (Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels are each within 30 minutes).
Tour of Flanders Cycle Sportif
Today we have the special Cycling Sportif event for cycling tourists on the day before the real boys come out to play.
Our great location in Gent will be to our advantage this morning as the hotel will prepare an early breakfast for us. After breakfast, we will head off to the start line to start your Flander Sportif experience. The 130km is the pick of the events as it gives you a true feel of the race as it traditionally goes over all the final (13 or so) climbs including the famous Molenberg, Oude Kwaremont, Koppenberg, Berendries, Valkenberg, Paterberg. It’s a great day on the bike but a hard one as the growing popularity of the event now means that almost 16,000 people participate.
The Tour of Flanders for Cyclists is the second event on the Golden Bike calendar, an initiative of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) to promote bike races worldwide. The Tour of Flanders (the race) is without a doubt one of the biggest sporting events in Belgium.
After the event, we will gather everyone and head back to Gent for a well-deserved shower and maybe some frites and mayo with a Belgian beer to wash it down along the way!
The Tour of Flanders
The Tour of Flanders is a living monument to cycling thanks to its past winners and demanding parcours. Hard men shine through this race typically hit with snow, wind and/or rain… Men like Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Tom Boonen and Johan Museeuw.
I don’t think there is anything quite like seeing a big Classic race live. The crowds are getting bigger every year. All of Flanders comes out to celebrate as if it is their National Day. To me, this is the real heart of cycling. If you are a cyclist you have to see this race once in your life.
The 2022 route is still to be confirmed but based off previous years the route should finish in Oudenaarde. In 2019 Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First) has created one of the biggest surprises in the recent history of the Tour of Flanders. The 25-year-old Italian drove away from all the big names on the Oude Kwaremont, on his way to his first professional victory ever. Kasper Asgreen and Alexander Kristoff completed the unexpected podium.
Visit Flanders Museum
Today we will drive to Oudenaarde for a visit of the Tour of Flanders Centre and Museum in Oudenaarde, followed by lunch in the beautiful town square.
Today we will drive to Oudenaarde for a visit of the Tour of Flanders Centre and Museum in Oudenaarde, followed by lunch in the beautiful town square. The Tour of Flanders Centre is located in the historical heart of Oudenaarde near the Market Square. Oudenaarde is the gateway to the Flemish Ardennes, with the slopes and cobbled roads of the Tour of Flanders.
The interactive museum looks for the spirit and the heroes of the Tour. The museum has a multi-media approach with magnificent audiovisuals, projections and computer simulations. Every visitor gets the chance to experience the Tour himself. You can feel the excitement, suffering, and happiness. You can cycle next to Schotte, Merckx or Museeuw and you can feel the cobbled stones and hills.
Cobbles, Bikes and Beer
This morning we will leave Gent for the day and travel to Brakel, the hometown of Eric your guide and the heartland of the Flemish Ardennes. Eric will take you to some of the famous cobbled climbs from earlier editions including the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen, the Kapelmuur, and the Bosberg.
After lunch, it is off to Brouwerij Roman or Brewery Roman for a tour and tasting. The story of the Roman family brewery began back in 1545. The brewery had been located in Mater (on the route of the Tour of Flanders) east of the city of Oudenaarde for more than four centuries.
After our visit, we will stumble to the vans and return to Gent where you are free for the evening.
This morning we will see the second of the great races in our week at the Classics, the semi-classic Grote Scheldeprijs. Being midweek between Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix it is expected that the top riders will come out to contest this, the oldest race in Belgium.
Previous years the start was in Antwerp. This year we expect the race will stay closer to the river Schelde the start of the race will be in Terneuzen, the Netherlands. After a tour of 129,8km between the Western Schelde and the Eastern Schelde trough islands Walcheren, North- and South Beveland in the state of Zeeland, the riders will reach the Belgium border and complete the remaining kilometres to the finish in Schoten.
We will stay in Schoten until the finish and return to the hotel afterwards.
Ieper, the Flanders Fields, and Kemmelberg
After lunch, we will visit the Flanders Fields which were the scene of some of the most fierce battles of World War 1. We’ll have our guide who will show us the famous and the more hidden war monuments. One of the most famous ones is the Tyne Cot Cemetery, where there is an interesting display of the battles fought in this area and the resting place of many Australians and British soldiers.
The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom in perpetuity by King Albert I of Belgium in recognition of the sacrifices made by the British Empire in the defence and liberation of Belgium during the war. It is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, for any war.
The name “Tyne Cot” is said to come from the Northumberland Fusiliers seeing a resemblance between the German concrete pillboxes, which still stand in the middle of the cemetery, and typical Tyneside workers’ cottages – Tyne Cots.
To complete our day, on our return we will head to an early dinner (provided tonight) to be able to see the last post at the Menin Gate.
Every evening (at 8 pm) since 1928, the Last Post has been sounded under the imposing memorial arches of the Menin Gate. The Last Post is the traditional salute to the fallen and is played in honour of the memory of the soldiers of the then British Empire, who fought and died in the ‘Immortal Ypres Salient’ between 1914 and 1918.
The Arenberg Forest experience
All the action today will centre around the famed Arenberg forest, The Wallers Forest and the section near Orchies. Today will be the last big day training for the teams, they will complete their final bike preparation and complete the reconnaissance of the important parts of the course and we usually see many of the teams out on the pave.
We will be heading down to Arenberg and see some of the teams pass through there before heading across to the Roubaix velodrome to see where we will be finishing Saturday’s Cyclo Sportif ride and then go to the clubhouse for some retail therapy and possibly a beer in the bar.
First used in 1968 the Trouée d’Arenberg, Tranchée d’Arenberg, (Trench of Arenberg), Trouee de Wallers Arenberg, has become the symbol of Paris–Roubaix. The 2400m of cobbles were laid in the time of Napoleon I and the road were proposed for Paris–Roubaix by former professional Jean Stablinski, who had worked in the mine under the woods of Arenberg. Although almost 100 km from Roubaix, the sector usually proves decisive and as Stablinski said “Paris–Roubaix is not won in Arenberg, but from there the group with the winners is selected.”
To save our legs for tomorrows cyclo Sportif, we will offer an easy ride from Roubaix back to our hotel in Ypres.
Paris-Roubaix Cyclo Sportif
You will have the opportunity to ride the same route as the pros the day before the race. Paris-Roubaix Cyclo Sportif gives every cyclist the opportunity to experience the magic of Paris-Roubaix!
Just a day before the real Paris-Roubaix, the Paris-Roubaix Challenge is conducted under the same conditions with the same cobblestones and the finish on the Vélodrome… Does it get any better? The Paris-Roubaix Cyclo Sportif offers a ride to the heart of the legendary history of cycling. We will offer 2 distances 145km and 70km (TBC), regardless of what route you choose, you will finish on the track of the fabled Roubaix Velodrome. There will be refreshments and you can take a shower in the very same place where the winners of the pro race (from Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault to Tom Boonen) wrote some of the most beautiful chapters in their careers.
We will have an early breakfast and head down to Roubaix around 7.00 am to the start and all going well we will be on the bike by 8.00 am. You can start any time you like before 10.00 am and sometimes it’s good to start a bit later to avoid the rush at the start. This concept is unique and an exceptional challenge. It won’t be easy but if you take it steadily and stay safe you’ll see the velodrome soon enough.
Sportif entry is included. Merchandising not included.
Race Day Paris – Roubaix
There is no other race in the world like the Paris-Roubaix. The French race is known for its torturous pavé sectors and the many stories of pain and destruction that they hold. Australia’s our own Stuart O’Grady has won this icon and dreams of riders like George Hincapie and Johan Museeuw have ended in tears along the roadside, but the risks make the victory in the velodrome that much sweeter.
After 260 kilometres and around 50 of pavé, the race ends with one and a half laps on Roubaix’s outdoor track. A win in Roubaix, the third of cycling’s five Monuments, and you are considered a god. Riders like Roger De Vlaeminck, Fausto Coppi, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, Sean Kelly and Tom Boonen have tamed Paris-Roubaix’s pavé for the well-earned status.
After a hard day on the bike yesterday, we take it easy this morning. We already have seen two starts this week, Flanders and the Scheldeprijs. After breakfast, we’re going to the first cobblestone section of the day. Through the afternoon we will visit several sections of pavé along the route where we’ll see up close the difficult conditions that take their toll on the riders as the day wears on. We will see the crowning of a new champion after a long day and enjoy our final night together with a farewell dinner.
A Bientot from Belgium
Sadly, our trip comes to an end today. We hope have enjoyed the Spring Classics experience and challenged yourself on some of the toughest roads in Europe. Most of all we hope you’ve created new friendships and great memories. The trip ends and we head our separate ways but we hope to see you again soon. We will have a bus available to shuttle people to the airport during the day.
Why Book with Bikestyle Tours?
A COVID-Safe plan
- All staff and guests must complete a pre-travel questionnaire prior to the start of the trip
- Bikestyle Tours complies with the QLD COVID Safe Industry Plan (Tourism and Accommodation, Bike Tours); such as controls for social distancing, cleaning and hygiene, vehicle transport.
Bookings are risk-free and guarantee you a spot!
Our covid-19 period booking system is a risk-free way to reserve your place. That means during the declared pandemic you are eligible to reschedule your trip or receive a full refund if due to travel restrictions enforced by Australian government jurisdictions you are unable to arrive at the designated start location on the date specified.
Are Trips Guaranteed Departures?
We make every effort to guarantee departures to give you peace of mind that once you’ve booked your trip – you’re going! We do not cancel trips due to insufficient numbers leaving you stranded.