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"We think it's a successful marriage. We feel at home in Oudenaarde in the heart of the Flemish Ardennes. Oudenaarde breathes racing. There was actually no reason to change so we did not begotiate with other candidates."

Photo: Tinkoff


22.11.2016 @ 19:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Oudenaarde will pay 400,000 euros a year to keep the finish of the Tour of Flanders in the city for another six years after 2017. "We feel at home in the heart of the Flemish Ardennes and have the ambition to even turn it into a five-day event," race director Wim Van Herreweghe tells Sporza.


Five years ago the finish of the Tour of Flanders moved to Oudenaarde. The organizers have not regretted the decision as the have extended the contract with the city until 2023. "Five years ago it was a difficult step, but in the last five years we have seen fantastic finals," Van Herreweghe said.


"We think it's a successful marriage. We feel at home in Oudenaarde in the heart of the Flemish Ardennes. Oudenaarde breathes racing. There was actually no reason to change so we did not begotiate with other candidates."


Oudenaarde pays 150,000 euros for the finish, but that amount is more than doubled. "The city will pay 400,000 euros. That's a decent amount, but it's a fair price. We are ambitious and the city is ambitious. The brand De Ronde is strong but we want to develop it further.


"We actually want to turn it into a five-day event. Dwars door Vlaanderen will be a WorldTour race and we want to develop a new concept for the cyclo-sportive version of De Ronde on Wednesday. There must be more international visitors in Oudenaarde."


Fans of the previous finish in Meerbeke will probably have to wait until 2023. "The course is beautiful. We want to keep that unique series with Koppenberg, Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg, Kanerieberg, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg maintain. But the Muur will be again get a place too."


Mayor Marnic De Meulemeester is happy that the finish of the Tour of Flanders will remain in his city. "We are very proud. We have proved in recent years that we can handle the organization of such an event.


"For the city this means a lot. De Rondeis becoming increasingly international and that is very important for the city's tourism. We noticed that more foreign guests go to our city. De Ronde puts us on the map internationally."


400,000 euros is a hefty price tag. "That's true, but it means so much for our city that it is worth that amount. It's a good investment. There has been no talk with other candidates."



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