Riding to the cyclocross and into the heart of a lost Flemish industry. A day at the Druivencross


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Last weekend I took a short cycling trip over the Flemish border to the nearby town of Overijse to watch the elite cyclocross, referred to by the TV commentators as the “classico” because it has been run on the same … Continue reading

Part 2 of my guest post for DiscoveringBelgium.com “New Year’s Revolutions: The Best of Belgian Cycling for 2015”

Part 2 of my guest post for Denzil Walton’s www.discoveringbelgium.com has been published today.

Last week it was all about places for you to ride.

This week its “Watching cycling with the Belgians – beer, frites and the most passionate fans in the world” 

I have suggested some of the best cycling to watch this year including the Six Days of Ghent, the great settings for cyclocross races and  of course the road classics.

An extra bonus for 2015 is the Tour de France which comes to Wallonia in July.


For links to my own accounts of visiting the various races mentioned click the tabs at the bottom of the page.

Thanks again Denzil for the opportunity to spread the word and for the great ideas on your blog.


To Namur for the World Cup Cyclocross. Belgian cycling delivers another spectacular day out.


This gallery contains 21 photos.

It is the weekend before Christmas and we are standing in a historic rock fortress overlooking a Belgian city. Fantastic views across the river Meuse, even on a bleak day. This is Namur, capital of Wallonia, the French speaking region … Continue reading

Another unique Belgian cycling experience – Diegem Superprestige Cyclo-cross – the nightcross


This gallery contains 22 photos.

Ever since I moved to Belgium I have loved the fact that almost nothing stops the cycle sport calendar with the cyclo-cross season kicking off almost as soon as the road season finishes. However one of my frustrations was that … Continue reading

Climate change stops play

My sort of new discovery this year has been the Belgian passion for cyclocross – or perhaps I should say what I have discovered is live cyclocross on the TV and the extensive coverage of the results in the mainstream media, even pushing back the all consuming monster that is football. (Cyclocross tab below to see other posts)

I can’t help but feel sorry for the organisers is this week’s World Championships in Louisville Kentucky. First time in the 43 years of the championship that they have left Europe. US Cycling is in desperate need of a lift after the nightmares of Armstrong and cyclocross is quietly growing as a new branch of the sport so it could be a real celebration of the sport for them.

So how about this for the news:

Louisville, KY – February 1, 2013. Forecast data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) project that high water levels in the Ohio River will cause Beargrass Creek to flood the low lying areas of Eva Bandman Park in Louisville, Ky, in the early hours on Sunday morning and that water level will continue to rise for the next 48 hours.

That is such a shame for the organisers, now they are relying on a special barrier and moving everything to today, Saturday.

Having seen Niels Albert, Sven Nys and the rest compete in mud so deep they couldn’t ride and on ice that put even the best on their backsides I have a sneaking suspicion that they could and would ride in snorkels and flippers if asked. My money would be on Albert, he’s the tallest.

The sort of good news is that Belgian TV will now show all four events on the one day – about four hours of coverage. Bad news for me is that I’m going to have to improvise – today is the day my other sporting passion kicks off – Rugby’s 6 Nations tournament also involves lots of blokes thrashing about in the mud but as I posted last year only at the very end of the series does it begin to overlap with cycling. Having to make such choices this early in the year really is unfair!

UCI’s live Youtube feed should do it, then I can capture both as I did for Milan San Remo last year.

Oh well, it does mean lots of time to get the ironing done.

A cycling country for hard riders – where cyclocross is a major sport

I always knew Belgium was mad for cycle sport and that it is the main home of the winter variant of the sport – cyclocross. It’s a much older offroad cycle sport than mountain biking, carried out on adapted road bikes.

But I have been highly entertained as for the second week in a row I have bumped into cyclocross on live TV as a major event of the day and the Dutch speaking radio station I had on while cooking a meal led with the cross results as the lead sports headline. A nice bonus, I had been anticipating watching some of the Belgian road classics later in the spring but I had forgotten all about the cyclocross.

Today showed why this has always been an event for hard riders, historically mainly men. The kind of rider who likes to keep a clean bike and mechanical perfection would recoil in horror from the pouring rain, the ankle deep mud and the grinding sand. Perfectly suited to the image of Belgium as the country of riders on and off road who like conditions really horrible.

Today’s Superprestige series race at Diegem had the added twist of being run off under floodlights and street lamps only enhancing the sense of being closed in by the storm. And despite the conditions it appeared to attract a good crowd. All the pictures are on copyrighted sites so I won’t put one here, but try here for some good ones.

I loved cross when I was a kid, I was absolutely useless at it because I lacked the power and strength to be any good. But when it turned really horrible I was always worth a few extra places just because it put off some of the speed merchants. So in the middle of the wettest winters ever in northern Europe I am very happy to be tucked up indoors and to salute the kings of the mud. I guess before the season ends I had better get myself out there and actually watch one.