Het Volk – Cycle Race

s a Belgian semi classic race, with a rich tradition. Although it has suffered by not being added to the ProTour calendar, it is very important as the symbolic herald of the European racing season.

Officially called Omloop Het Volk, Het Volk began in 1945 and has been sponsored by the Belgian newspaper, Het Volk of the same name.

Het Volk is run through the passionate cycling region of East Flanders. The race brings out a large crowd of spectators watching the race pass over tough terrain of cobbles and short hills. As the race is usually held on the last Saturday of February it is often characterised by bad weather, rain and even snow to make the pave sections slippery and dangerous.

As the race is particularly important for Belgians it is no surprise that the winner list has tended to be dominated by local riders; it was 15 years before a non Belgian rider won the race. However, in the past few decades there have been many dutch, French and German winners. Some of the most famous cyclists to have won the classic event include: Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Freddy Maertens and Johan Museeuw. Dutchman Jan Raas, Peter Van Petegem, Johan Museeuw

The Route of Het Volk

Het Volk is run over a 200km route, starting and finishing in Ghent. The course has 10 significant climbs or ‘bergs’ with the toughest being the Eikenberg and Molenberg. However, the last climb of the race, the Molenberg, comes with over 60km from the finish so the hills are often not the deciding factor, but just help to split the peloton down to a smaller leading group.

the 2007 race was won by the Italian Fillipo Pozzatto.

In the 2008 race, Tom Boonen’s Quick Step team are likely to start as favourites

Related Belgian Classics

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