This year, Katrijn De Clercq won the first edition of the ‘Grand Prix Lucien Van Impe’ for women in Erpe-Mere. At that time it was a match on the national calendar, but that will change next season on Thursday, August 22. “Next year we will become an international UCI competition,” says Jeroen De Smet on behalf of the organization.
As prescribed by the UCI regulations, the organizers must start with a second category race (1.2). A maximum of three World Tour teams may participate in these competitions, in addition to continental UCI teams and club teams. “It took some getting used to for many when we opted for a women’s race this year after more than ninety editions for the male pros. For men, the fairground races for professionals were extinguished, leaving only the elite without contracts and promises at the start. That is why we chose the growing popularity of women’s cycling,” says Jeroen De Smet.
“We really enjoyed this first edition on the national calendar, which is why we want to move up a gear for next season.” The choice of a UCI race requires organizational adjustments. “We are making our race longer, to a route of 140 kilometers. And we are going to opt for a big round through the Flemish Ardennes and do numerous local rounds in the final. We want to maintain the atmospheric fairground race feeling at the start and finish.”