ASO confirms early details of World Ports Classic
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ASO confirms early details of World Ports Classic

by Ben Atkins at 5:37 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Two-day race between Rotterdam and Antwerp to be dominated by the wind

world ports classicTour de France organiser ASO has confirmed more details of its new World Ports Classic, to be run on August 31st and September 1st next year. In press conferences held in both Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Antwerp, Belgium, ASO gave details of the origin of its new race “in the heart of two countries in which bicycles are first and foremost part of the way of life”.

The race was reportedly conceived during the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2010, which began with an 8.9km prologue time trial in the city of Rotterdam. The first road stage the following day, which passed through Antwerp on its way to the Belgian capital Brussels, became the starting point of the “dream”, which has since been added to by further ideas.

The race will be made up of two stages of approximately 180km each, with the first starting in Rotterdam and finishing in Antwerp, and the other vice versa; there have so far been no other course details announced. While the terrain in the North Sea coastal regions of both the Netherlands and Belgium has few topological features – and very little in the way of hills – the almost permanent exposure to the winds that blow across the Rhine delta should provide the peloton with plenty of obstacles.

With more and more races in the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour being created in new cycling markets, like China with the Tour of Beijing, ASO is keen to emphasise the importance of top level events in the traditional heartland of cycle sport.

“Whilst cycling is successfully exported to all continents, old Europe is also showing it can be pro-active,” reads its statement. “It is not by chance that the initiative stems from the two countries where bicycles have a greater right of way than anywhere else in the world. It is also natural that an elite race should link the Netherlands to Belgium, each country having given so much to the history of cycling.”

While the race’s position in the calendar will see it clash with the Vuelta a España, the new World Points Classic will slot nicely between the GP Ouest France-Plouay and the two WorldTour races in Canada.

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