Not having fans at Flanders will not be ‘financially feasible’ next year, organizer says
Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert at the 2020 Tour of Flanders.
The races organized by Flanders Classics will go forth this spring without spectators at starts and finishes and without VIPS, according to CEO Thomas Van Den Spiegel. But this is the last time that will be “financially feasible,” he said.
“We are going to perform the trick of organizing without an audience for one more spring, but we can’t keep doing that,” Van Den Spiegel said, according to Standaard.be. “That is no longer financially feasible.”
The governor of East Flanders, Carina Van Cauter, announced on Wednesday that fans would not be allowed at races in the region until April 5 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Tour of Flanders takes place on April 4, and is thus included in the ban. The ban also includes other Flanders Classics races, including the northern classics opener Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as well as Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars Door Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs, and Brabantse-Pijl.
Flanders Classics has worked to increase revenue from its races in recent years, introducing extensive VIP ticketed zones and altering courses to include more loops, improving viewing for those VIPs. The Tour of Flanders, the company’s highest-profile event, underwent a major course change in 2011, moving the Muur van Geraardsbergen far earlier in the course and adding the Kwaremont/Paterberg finish laps that have defined recent editions.
“We use a lot of resources so that the cycling fan does not miss a second of their favorite sport,” Van Den Spiegel said. “And yes, that costs us a lot of money.”