In the showroom of Unilin - Quick-Step Floors, a unique location in the West-Flemish town of Wielsbeke, located only a few miles from the finish line in Waregem, the Organisation Dwars Door Vlaanderen presented their brand new route for the 2018 race to the press, partners and sponsors.
Not only the route for Elite Men, but also the Elite Women-course was given the necessary attention. Guy Delesie explained the highlights of the 7th Dwars Door Vlaanderen for Elite Women.
The start in 2018 will be given in Tielt, remaining the same as last year. Via the town of Dentergem the ladies will blend in on the same route as Elite Men. Through Wielsbeke and a passage at the finish line in Waregem, they head to Avelgem and the hills of the Flemish Ardennes. In total, the Elite Women have five climbs ands two cobbled sections to tame. Eye-catchers are Knokteberg and Kluisberg, the same duo as is highlighted with the Elite Men. Afterwards the peloton heads straight into the finale. Passing by on the cobbles of the Varentstraat, the riders have to conquer consecutively: Vossenhol, Holstraat and Nokereberg. The cobbled section of Herlegemstraat is the final obstacle with 6km to go till the finish line in Waregem.
Lieselot Decroix: "A women's race on the same day as the men's race, is important for the international appeal"
"Now the Organisation Dwars Door Vlaanderen has lifted our race to a higher level, obviously we couldn't leave the women behind", says Pavel Desmet. "Step by step we have grown from a local race to an international race, UCI level 1.1. It hasn't been easy optimalizing the calendar as we did for the men's race, but we managed to get the women's race to a new date as well."
If a WorldTour race is the next step? Let's wait to make decisions after the 2018 race. It will be the first time the Elite Women will ride in the week between Ghent-Wevelgem and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Let's see how the teams react and with wich riders the will come to Tielt. We will overthink this enough and we won't make any rash decisions", says Pavel Desmet.
Lieselot Decroix, active as a rider in the peloton with Lotto Soudal Ladies until 2016 and newcomer in the organisation of Dwars Door Vlaanderen, is convinced the top riders will find their way to Tielt four days before the Ronde. "Everyone agrees that women's race should be ridden the same day as the men's", says Decroix. "That's the future of women's cycling. Being honoured on stage righ before Yves Lampaert, is of course much more pleasant than having a ceremony where there are few spectators. Voor the internation appeal of our race, that's so important."
Meer details on the new track can be found here: http://www.ddvl.eu/nl/ddv/elite-vrouwen/wedstrijd
(Foto's: Stefan Steenkiste)