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16,000 cycling fans take part in their own Tour of Flanders
The day before the real Tour of Flanders no less than 16,000 cycling enthusiasts rode the course that included the renowned short climbs and cobble stone sections.
Already at 7am the first 'flandriens' started their day at the main square in Bruges. Aiming for 259 kilometer, everybody braced themselves for a long a cold day as the temperatures were still negative at that time. On their way to Oudenaarde they had to tackle 17 ascension and 8 cobble stone sections. The participants in the 133 and 83 kilometer departed from Oudenaarde, to which they eventually returned too. As the morning progressed the sun shone more and it most certainly warmed the participants in many ways.


The success of 16,000 cycling enthusiasts is also due to the large numbers of people from across the globe. 6500 foreign 'amateurs' rode their Ronde, a new event record and proof of the fact that cycling is the ultimate international sport. Participants came from Canada,South AAfrika, Singapore, Australië, Mexico, Korea and Brazil. 


Other than Flemish and Belgian politicians, mayors, singer-songwriters and the chairman of the Belgian Cycling Association, other renowned people also took part. A most noted one was George Hincapie, who took on the 133 kilometer. During his professional career Captain Blueheart rode the Tour of Flanders no less than seventeen times..


The organisation spared no costs nor efforts for the randonnée version of the Tour of Flanders . In collaboration with all the communities along the course 200 people and 70 stewards provided for a safe passing through. 30 waste collection spots were available, as well as 15 sanitairy stations, 8 cleaning teams, 12 cars for technical support, 170 local and federal police officers, 8 ambulances and 7 health and safety stations manned by the Belgian Red Cross.