How To… Race in Belgium 53X11 Mckay

Racing in Belgium may come with allusions of grandure, but really it couldn’t be easier to do. Although the racing is hard, the races are constructive instead of much of the negative style racing found in the UK.

Kermesses

these are the most common and typical Belgian races. 100-120km in over 12-20 laps of a short circuit. They usually start in a small town, ride out along the main road into the countryside (for a nice crosswind) and loop back around to finish in the town again.

Crits

Similar to the UK, these are short laps of a town centre. This makes for intense and technical racing. Admin is similar to a Kermesse.

Interclubs

These are bigger one day  races run for Belgian teams. You will need to guest for a local team for these races. They can be longer distances and higher quality of racing. But prize money and prestige is greater. There’s also a team prize.

More Info

All races are fully marshalled and are run on closed roads (or a rolling road closure).
Entry is €10, of which you get €5 back for returning your number at the end of the race. Prize money is good, expect up to €1000 total up for grabs. Money goes down to top 30 or even top 50, plus primes so hang around at the end to see if you are quids-in!

Races are well spectated and sometimes coincide with a town fair or festival. Expect the sign on to be in the busiest pub.

look for the big dudes in the pale blue shirts

Foreigners will need a racing licence (such as a BC licence) and a letter of authority from their federation. Juniors will also need a calendar card which restricts them to ride no more than three races a week.

If you haven’t raced before in Belgium that year you will need to pay a €6 registration fee for the season. After this you should be able to make an online profile and see your results on https://mijnwbv.dewielerbond.be . It’s also possible to pre-enter races here. This is more necessary at the start of the season when fields get filled but by the summer time you can be pretty certain of an entry on the line.

I thoroughly recommend racing in Belgium. There’s a reason why racing here is the holy grail for cyclists. The country loves cycling and this is reflected in the quality of racing. The racing is cheap, the winnings are good and the racing is flat out. See you in the gutter.