With the 86th edition of the traditional cycling race for elite cyclists with contract (the former professional cyclists), the fair in the city center of Zottegem will once again have a sporty finale on Tuesday, August 23, for the second time under the new name. Egmont Cycling Race, already the fifth name of this cycling race. The original name Dokter Tistaertprijs became the Remembrance Prize Dr. Tistaert – Prize Groot-Zottegem. In 1999 the name changed to GP Zottegem – Tistaertprijs and in 2002 the reference to the former sports doctor Alfred Tistaert (1873-1936) was completely removed when the Grand Prix Stad Zottegem was chosen. In 2020, the race was once again renamed Egmont Cycling Race. The first edition took place in 1934. The competition was not held in 1940, 1944 and 2020.
With the support of the city, which provides a subsidy of 35,000 euros for its organization, this cycling race still stands on its own two feet and is not part of the package of, for example, Flanders Classics or Golazo. Since 2005, the race has been organized in category 1.1 of the UCI Europe Tour, but if it depends on the organizing committee of the Zottegemse Wielerclub vzw, this is not the end point. An application has already been submitted to the UCI to to climb one step higher to the Pro Series level (such as Nokere Koerse) but this request has not yet been granted.
In anticipation of this possible promotion, the The field of participants are already better upholstered this time than last year when Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert was the only UCI WorldTeam to go to Zottegem (and delivered the winner with Danny Van Poppel who in the meantime moved to Bora-Hansgrohe). In addition to this top Belgian formation (with Taco Van Der Hoorn), next Tuesday Lotto-Soudal (Arnaud De Lie, Victor Campenaerts, Florian Vermeersch), Cofidis (Jenne Wallays, Kenneth Van Bilsen), Groupama-FDJ, BikeExchange and Israel-Premier Tech five more WorldTeams are at the start. In addition, the ProTeams Alpecin-Deceuninck, Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces WB, Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Arkéa-Samsic and TotalEnergies also confirmed their participation. A total of 24 professional teams of min. 5 and max. 7 riders will contest the Egmont Cycling Race.
Organizer and race director Johan Gosseye spent more than six months free time to ensure that this will happen on a completely new 198 km course, spread over two grand laps of 75.2 km and two local laps of 23.8 km. The riders have to digest a total of eight slopes: twice the Klemhoutstraat and Hostellerie and four times the Grotenbergestraat. And – unbelievable but true – for the first time in the decades-long history of this Zottegem cycling race, they also get the cobblestones of the Paddestraat under their wheels for the first time. The race will also be shown live on the television screen for the first time. This was reportedly originally also negotiated with Sporza, but an agreement was finally reached with Eurosport, TV Oost and Proximus Pickx for a live broadcast of the final of the Egmont Cycling Race. In the meantime, keep an eye on NUUS: in a next NUUS message we will present you the complete and detailed roadmap of this cycling race