Practical Guide BK Cycling 2023 in IZEGEM. A nod to Gent-Wevelgem and a flat final where the wind could play a part

BK on the road 2023, practical:

Where? Izegem

WHO? men’s elite and women’s elite, each expected to debut in professional

Start: Women’s elite at 10.30am, Men’s elite at 12 noon on the Grand Place of Izgem

Arrival: female elite around 2pm, male elite around 5.30pm at Ambachtenstraat in Izgem

Distance: 133.7 kms for women’s elite, 226.5 kms for men’s elite

Course: Flat

The BK finals in Izegem consist of local loops, 4 for men and 2 for women, which run directly through the city center and also to the sub-municipalities of Amalgem and Kachtem. The first part of the local lap also leads riders towards the center of Ingelmünster. After that, the course mainly follows wide roads where wind can play a significant factor and speeds will be higher.

Before the riders begin the local laps, a run-up course awaits in the area around Izhegum: just over 80 flat kilometers on wide roads for the women, where wind can play a part, a nod to the men The Gent–Wevelgem on the Hai Monteberg–Kemmelberg pair is a double route, making the 120 km run-up to them a bit more intense.

Want to participate in BC Live?

There are two fan areas and three public areas.

Those who want to experience the team presentations and the start of matches up close can go to the Fan Zone on the Grote Markt in Izgem, where both the women’s and men’s starts start. There are also two routes for the women’s competition and four for the men’s and you can follow the competitions on the big screen.

The second Fan Zone is at the end in Ambachtenstraat in Izgem. Women pass three times, men five and you can also follow the finishes and podium ceremonies for both women and men live for free. This fan zone opens at 12 noon and closes at 7 pm.

There are also three public areas along the course: in Emelgem (Emelgemseplein), Kachtem (Kachtemsplein) and Ingelmunster (Marktplein).

cycling party on saturday

There are also plans for a celebration on Saturday 24 June, the day before the matches. Free races take place on the reels on the Grand Place from 3 to 6 p.m. In groups of four, participants must pop their balloon as quickly as possible. , Pre-registration is not necessary.

For children born between 2018 and 2021, there is a balance bike competition between 4 and 5 p.m. in the Grote Markt. They have to pre-register on the BK website.

it was like last year

Tim Marlier, who is in his last months at Alpesin-Dessinink, became Belgian champion for the second time last year after a pressure sprint in Middelkerk. Defending champion Watt van Aert was not in the starting lineup due to a minor knee injury.

A sprint was written in the stars on the Billiard Flat course, but a group of 14 riders chose the open water. Among them are Oliver Neesen, Quinton Hermans, Gianni Vermarsch, Brent van Moer, Bert van Lerberghe and Elie Iserbet.

During the passage through Moran, the pace in the peloton – which was already six minutes behind – increased and the large group split in two under the influence of the wind. Remko Evenpoel was also surprised, like the troops of Intermarche-Vanty-Gobert.

The 1st platoon closed the gap with the thinned leading group. Shortly before the merge on the local circuit at Middlekerke, luck struck for Alpicin–Fenix: both Philipson and Merlier crashed on a straight. Hints for Jasper Stuyven and Yves Lampert, among others, to try to leapfrog the leading group. In the end, Merlier and Philipsen would be reunited quite easily.

When regrouping at the front, observation was lost and the Battle of the Pendulum was attacked. Sep Vanmarcke got away and ten riders made the crossing: Jasper Philipsen, Fabio van den Bosch, Tim Declerck, Pieter Seery, Florian Vermarsch, Jasper Stuyven, Tom van Esbroeck, Sten Dewulf and Tosh van der Sande.

When the second peloton – with Arnaud de Lai – came back on the last local lap, Lotto–Soudal opened the throttle completely, after which the lead was reduced to eleven leaders. Jasper Philipson had bad luck again: he had a puncture and was caught.

Stueven and Vanmarcke went on the attack at the start of the final lap, with eight of their teammates being picked up by the peloton.

Suddenly 6 kilometers from the finish there was Remko Evenpoel, who had ridden in the second peloton for a large part of the race. The national time trial champion ran Stuyven and Vanmarcke at once, with Julien Mertens of Sport Vlaanderen-Balois also in the jump.

Evenpoel tried a second time and gained a few metres, but Stueven and Vanmarcke closed the gap. With less than three kilometers to go, the quartet’s story was over and we had a (thin) peloton in front of us. Some riders crashed to the ground, but it came down to a sprint: Merlier came out fastest ahead of Jordi Meis and teammate Jasper Philipsen.

10 youngest Belgian road champions:

2022 (Middlekirk): Tim Marlier

2021 (Wargame): Wout van Aert

2020 (Anzegem): Dries de Bondt

2019 (Ghent): Tim Merlier

2018 (Binche): Yves Lampert

2017 (Antwerp): Oliver Neesen

2016 (Lacs de l’Eau d’Heuere): Philippe Gilbert

2015 (Tervuren): Preben van Hecke

2014 (Wilsbeke): Jens Debuschere

2013 (La Roche-en-Ardenne): Stijn Devolder

Tom Steels is the record holder with four Belgian titles, followed by Rik Van Steenbergen and Stijn Devolder, who each managed three BC titles for their side. Tim Merlier already has two titles to his name and is again one of the top favourites.

(translate to tag) Tim Merlier

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