© A.S.O. - P. Perreve
For cycling enthusiasts, certain regions of the world have a special place in their hearts. Each fan discovers with delight and appetite the exotic places now explored by the increasingly more international packs. The diversity of flavours is indeed maintained after voyages to far-flung destinations by returns to “old Europe”, where cycling built its legend. As such, the roads of Belgium and the Netherlands have made a major contribution to the fibre of cycling’s history, in a similar way that their champions, named Merckx, Gilbert, Boonen, Janssen, Zoetemelk and Gesink, amongst others, have won over viewers from way beyond their borders. It therefore seemed a good idea, between the sumptuous Grand Start of the Tour de France in Rotterdam in 2010 and the one in 2012 in the Province of Liège, to find a new way to innovate by creating a stage race held over two days at the very core of these cycling heartlands.
The ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, symbols of openness to the rest of the world displayed by cycling, were just as enthusiastic, which convinced us of this project’s merits, giving rise to the World Ports Classic. All that remained was for this event to take to the roads, for the teams and riders to commit and for the spectators to enjoy the show. This was exactly the result for the first edition, with a race in keeping with our ambitions and that is set to make a long-lasting impression. Since interaction was the driving force behind the creation of this race, it was natural that the roles were reversed for this second act, with Antwerp to host the start and finish… and perhaps a Dutch rider triumphant when it comes to the crunch!