In the city hall of the Dutch city of Terneuzen, Flanders Classics ands Schotense Wielerclub vzw have presented the 2018 Scheldeprijs route. In attendance of a big crowd there were quite a few novelties to be told. We present you the story of an interesting afternoon.
After the start in Terneuzen, the riders dive into the Westerschelde tunnel towards Middelburg. Afterwards the peloton navigates between Oosterschelde and Westerschelde towards the border with Belgium. From Middelburg they go via Veere, Goes, Welemdinge en Yerseke to Ossendrecht. From Ossendrecht the riders go to Putte, where they cross the border after 125 km on Dutch soil.
Via Putte and Stabroek the peloton arrives in the Antwerp area. From Ekeren they go to Merksem towards Schoten, where three local rounds are plannen, remaining the same as past years.
"Scheldeprijs is known as the unofficial "World Championship of sprinting", says chairman Piet De Smet. "The arrival in Schoten and the three local rounds remain the foundation of the Scheldeprijs."
"With the renewed route through the province of Zeeland, we have chosen for a track with a lot of attraction, one where an early partition of the peloton is one of the possibilities. That's what the passage of the Tour de France in 2015 has proven us. We have seen there what the wind can do."
Wind was thé talk of the town during the press presentation. The change of route in 2018 may result in echelons in the windy province of Zeeland. The chance of the annual mass sprint in Schoten could be reduced.
"Me myself, I thought the old run-up to the finale of the 'old' Scheldeprijs was a bit monotonous", says Flanders Classics CEO Wouter Vandenhaute. "That will be different now. The wind can make it a very interesting race with battle from the first kilometers on. I'm a big believer of this new concept."
"The Schelde river is water and water means wind", adds Jo-Annes De Bat of the province of Zeeland about the wind in his province. "The wind-speed is an uncertain factor, but it will blow. Be sure of that."
The city of Terneuzen will receive a fine number of WorldTour-teams. "We have nothing to complaint about", says Piet De Smet. "Eleven WorlTour-teams have confirmed. First of all there is Katusha-Alpecin, the new team of our record holder Marcel Kittel. There's Quick-Step Floors with Gaviria and/or Viviani, Dimension Data with Mark Cavendish and Lotto-Soudal with André Greipel. Coming as well: BORA-hansgrohe, FDJ, Astana, Sunweb, EF Education Firs-Drapac, LottoNL-Jumbo and Team Sky."
The list of participating teams is completed with 11 Pro Continental teams: Sport Vlaanderen, Veranda's Willems-Crelan, Wanty Groupe Gobert and WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic from Belgium, Cofidis, Vital Concept and Fortuneo from France, Roompot from Holland, Aque Blue Sport and Israel Cycling Academy. One Wildcards has yet to be handed out. "We're choosing between CCC, Direct Energie and Willier", says a happy chairman Piet De Smet.
Foto's: Kristof Ramon
Take a look at the interactive map presentation