The Belgian Project and Irish talent need Belgian local races to flourish, it provides training ground and experience for our youth, a step in the learning curve of development and basically “Live the Dream” Since 2008 we have sent our aspiring youth to my homeland, the mecca of cycling so to speak. But Covid-19 has become a big threat to such races, the lockdown unsure of length with disastrous consequences for the local smaller races…the bread and butter of Flemish kermesses and youth races. This worrying report below caught my eye due to the importance within, told by Youri Bultynck, a well-known cycling figure in West Flanders, ex-DS of top amateur teams such as CT Soenens-Booom (who is one of the top teams in Belgium for decades) Youri is now the CEO of https://www.facebook.com/legendsportagency. He published his concerns yesterday on his social media, a very interesting story that could be instrumental to the BP survival in the long run!! Well said Youri…100% with you
My heart bleeds when I now look to the future of regional and (youth) cycling, which will catch the greatest blow of all sports and will probably never overcome it. This is because of a group of bobos in Brussels who think they know everything, but now they prove to know nothing and do things wrong. On March 23, I warned against such a scenario if there was no clear exit plan. The government placed the responsibility with the federations. What does Belgian Cycling, through Jos Smets: we will be happy if we can race again on 1 September. The government does not even go along with this story and takes August 1. For the men and bobos in their ivory tower in Brussels, only the pros, big races, VIPs, and national teams are important. They earn from that, the regional races are work for Cycling Flanders, but they are covered by Belgian Cycling and can, therefore, do little. The operation and approach of Cycling Flanders are a lot better and more modern than that of Belgian Cycling, a pity that they make them paralyzed! As a result, many often (older) organizers drop out and also opt for security and cancel it before August. Who can blame them? The result is that many matches will also disappear permanently because of the older boards. The younger guard opts for larger rates. If one makes little or no effort to make races possible in Flanders and sit back and relax like Belgian Cycling, this is the result. The bobos had not taken into account that there must still be organizers if one wants to start even earlier. You cannot suddenly say we are going to race again on June 15 because there are no more organizers because of those statements. They wouldn’t have thought of that for sure. And now be honest, soon the catering industry and sports clubs and schools will open. But a regional youth cycling race with Belgian riders with a maximum of 250 spectators who are usually still divided over several km on the course cannot continue until August 1, this has been taken off the pot. Of which there are even many of the same bubbles. At the Action, 250 stood 1.5 meters apart for several hours
Half of their expenses go to the national team, the other half goes to administration, read high wages! If you know that they now have almost no expenses, that they already receive the money from the permits, then you already know why everything goes like this. They complain that they have less income, due to the pro rates and large rates. But they also have a lot less expenditure, when their expensive staff is at economic unemployment. Otherwise, their business model is completely wrong. Anyone who thinks that riders with the same clothing will be able to race will be disappointed, because of the crisis sponsors will drop out. Youth riders also grow very quickly and their clothing is too small after a year. In addition, you have the mental torture for 12 to 23-year-olds, training for what and when? Now it will be even more difficult if you see that the catering and other outdoor sports can start a month and a half earlier. Clubs will disappear or have to work with nearly halved budgets in 2021, partly thanks to Belgian Cycling. Racing on July 1 would have been a world of difference, to sponsors, and to the mind for the athlete. They will then promise everyone, clubs, and riders a piece of candy a little discount or mss none for next season. Pay the rider and club again for the costs? Is their style. Hopefully, the riders and club will really unite (which has never happened before). That they then hire a lawyer. And very simple as a club and rider: we pay and contribute to the crisis, but we are not going to pay for it alone. Example: 160 euro permit for 8 months course: We have been able to race 3 months = 60 euros and we split that over 100 euros, 50/50 shared suffering, so next year a license may cost a maximum of 110 euros. No judge will challenge this. We bet they want to race again in Brussels soon. (Same for the club permits).
Due to incorrect assessment and lack of initiative, youth cycling will receive a blow that is incalculable. Both at clubs and riders. Hopefully, they will go to that bobsled club from Brussels that keeps getting away with it because we have a lot of talent and good clubs to tackle and not slavishly walk along for a candy. This old-fashioned bobo club must be removed if one wants to grow and renew in Belgium. More power to Cycling Flanders would be much better. In order to limit the damage somewhat, it can be re-introduced that the category is changed back on his birthday, but that is food for the UCI. It is and remains the fairest. Much strength to clubs, riders, Cycling Vlaanderen, regards Youri Bultynck