On Sunday, the riders of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl will be at the start of Gent-Wevelgem, in beautiful Ypres. Former professional cyclist Roger Verschaeve, the Tim Declercq of the '70s and '80s, is also looking forward to the classic, while he further promotes Ypres as a cycling city.
Roger Verschaeve was a professional cyclist for 10 years and compares his role as a helper with the one of Tim Declercq today. There are still some differences. For example, Roger could never excel personally. "You couldn’t sprint in a grand tour nor finish in front of the leader." Today that has changed positively. Helpers now also receive some attention thanks to the media. At the time, Roger could already be satisfied if 25 to 30 kilometers were broadcast on TV. Now you can follow the race from start to finish.
“Gent-Wevelgem always was the race for me, as a regional rider here. This race always appealed to me.” Roger finished 4th in the amateurs, after a course that was already 205 km long. He also notices changes here. Gent-Wevelgem used to start in Deinze, but since the start has been moved to Ypres, a certain charisma has been added to the race. Gent-Wevelgem also really shows its slogan 'In Flanders Fields'.
Roger is looking forward to the start of Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday March 27th, where the riders will start from the In Flanders Fields museum. He’ll for sure follow the race from close.
Ypres, the city for your cycling trip
After his cycling career, Roger started working in the hotel industry in Ypres, with a focus on cycling tourism. According to him, Ypres is the perfect city to plan a multi-day trip. Why? Next to the iconic Kemmelberg, there’s also a lot to experience next to cycling. Ypres offers culture, you can dine well and especially enjoy a delicious beer after a day of biking. And for most cycling tourists, fun is still the most important factor. “They can't all be pros,” Roger smiles.
Bike friendly hotels
Roger ensures that cyclists have a good time in his hotels. They can safely store their bikes there. Secondly, there are endless possibilities to put together routes via, for example, fietsenvanuitieper.be. There really is something for everyone: if you like flat routes, hilly courses, long or short distances. And of course Roger knows better than anyone how to make your stay as pleasant as possible. Because of his experience as a cyclist, but also because of his knowledge as a hotelier.
Would you like to plan your multi-day stay in Ypres to discover Gent-Wevelgem by bike? Bike-friendly accommodations and the Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields route can be found via www.fietsenvanuitieper.be