Homeland of Cycling (Flanders, Belgium)
Cycling is part of the genetic make-up of the residents of the Lys Valley. Almost every city and every village has produced one or several champions. Races draw huge crowds and result in a spontaneous festival. It’s not a coincidence that the majority of the Tour of Flanders villages are located in the Lys Valley.
The majority of the spring races in Flanders start and end in the Lys Valley, including: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke and Ghent-Wevelgem. Attending a start or standing at the finish line is quite an experience. At the starting line, the general public is able to get a close look at the cyclists and sometimes to chat with them. At the finish line, tensions are high as thousands of people await the climax of the race. Afterwards it’s discussed at length at the beverage stands and in pubs nearby.