Piet De Smet, former organizer of the Scheldeprijs, becomes ‘Scotense Lion’: “He has given Schoten a great gift” (Antwerp)

Piet De Smet, former organizer of the Scheldeprijs, becomes ‘Scotense Lion’: “He has given Schoten a great gift” (Antwerp)
Piet De Smet, former organizer of the Scheldeprijs, becomes ‘Scotense Lion’: “He has given Schoten a great gift” (Antwerp)
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Piet De Smet with winner Endrio Leoni after the 2000 edition. — © rr

Shots

Even before the starting signal for the 112th edition has been given, the Scheldeprijs already has a great winner. This summer around the Flemish Holiday, the July 11 Committee will knight Piet De Smet, former organizer of the oldest Flemish cycling classic, in the Order of the Schotense Lion.

Bart Fierens, chairman of the gathered Flemish associations, announced this on the eve of the cycling classic.

“Piet De Smet fits nicely into the list of special residents of Schoten who have contributed to the image of our municipality,” Bart Fierens explains the choice of the 2024 laureate. “Flanders is a cycling-mad country and thanks to Piet De Smet, Schoten also enjoys every year of this cycling craze. On the Wednesday between the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, Schoten celebrates its annual unofficial holiday. Piet De Smet guided the oldest classic in Flanders through a turbulent period and anchored it in Schoten. A man of the people who has given the people of Scotland a very great gift.”

Piet De Smet in the town hall of Schoten after the Scheldeprijs joined Flanders Classics.

Piet De Smet in the town hall of Schoten after the Scheldeprijs joined Flanders Classics. — © JAA

Piet De Smet (74) accepts ‘honorary citizenship’ with surprise, but gratitude, and with blushing cheeks. For sixteen years he was the major organizer of the Scheldeprijs. The cheese dealer and passionate cycling tourist at WTC De Trappers had taken over the wheel of the Scheldeprijs from Hector Jansen in 2003. The now deceased former Liebig marketing man had already given the oldest Flemish cycling classic more prestige after it had sunk to the level of a fairground race in the early 1980s.

“Johan Museeuw rode his very last race in Schoten in 2004, and was besieged by thousands of fans. Tom Boonen’s victories are also etched in my memory”

Piet De Smet

Former organizer

“Our honors list is worth seeing,” says De Smet. “There are so many wonderful memories. I spontaneously think of 2004, when Johan Museeuw rode his very last race in Schoten and Schoten was really besieged by thousands of cycling fans. The two victories of the then young Tom Boonen, one of which in the jersey of world champion, are also forever etched in my memory. But perhaps my most valuable memory for our Scheldeprijs was Wouter Vandenhaute’s announcement that he would like to include our competition in his Flanders Classics. I immediately knew this was crucial to taking him to an even higher level.”

With the then organizing committee, including his successor Jack Vissers, during the 'exploration' of the new starting location in Terneuzen in 2018.

With the then organizing committee, including his successor Jack Vissers, during the ‘exploration’ of the new starting location in Terneuzen in 2018. — © JAA

Dynamism

Five years ago, police officer Jack Vissers succeeded Piet De Smet as chairman of the organizing committee. He also speaks with great praise and respect about his predecessor and sincerely wishes him this distinction.

René Vermeiren, senior employee of the Scheldeprijs and walking cycling encyclopedia, put it twelve years ago in his book Cycling passion on the Scheldton the occasion of the hundredth edition of the Scheldeprijs, as follows: “With his well-known dynamism, Piet De Smet ensured a spectacular centenary of the Scheldeprijs in 2007. He also recruited many new partners and worked day and night for a perfect organization .”

Piet with two-time winner Tom Boonen, who also chose the Scheldeprijs in 2007 for his very last competition on Belgian soil.

Piet with two-time winner Tom Boonen, who also chose the Scheldeprijs in 2007 for his very last competition on Belgian soil. — © BELGA

In an interview with the Dutch press.

In an interview with the Dutch press. — © JAA

On the balcony of the Terneuzen town hall after the presentation of the 2018 edition.

On the balcony of the Terneuzen town hall after the presentation of the 2018 edition. — © JAA

With the Italian winner Endrio Leoni after his victory in the 2000 edition.

With the Italian winner Endrio Leoni after his victory in the 2000 edition. — © RR

The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: Piet Smet organizer Scheldeprijs Scotense Lion Schoten great gift Antwerp

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