Belgium Classics organisers are ready to prevent any possible terrorist attacks on the upcoming spring races. Traffic blocked on intersecting streets and backpacks will be checked by police, focusing on the start, finish and major climbs.
Following the attacks in Nice and Berlin in 2016, when terrorists drove trucks into crowds of people, cycling races have understandably been placed on high alert, given that spectators can line the route for its entirety, and without paying. The organization of the races has been preparing to avoid any trouble as Belgian newspapers De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws report.
“There has been a cooperation with the government and the Police,” said Tour of Flanders director Wim Van Herreweghe. “We have to follow the guidelines of terror level 3.
“In addition to the dozens of Policemen that will patrol during the race, we are putting 100 stewards to check bags in public areas. Something new for this year will be that we must make sure that trucks are not able to drive on the course. Even if it would be impossible to guarantee it on the entire route, we will do it in places where many people gather like the Koppenberg, the Kwaremont and the city of Oudenaarde,” he commented.
“To bar access to the route, concrete blocks or trailers will be used. We must follow the guidelines that apply to terror level three. In addition to dozens of policemen, we ourselves will put hundreds of security stewards in public areas to check bags.”
The races where precautions will take place are the six Flanders Classics: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, Scheldeprijs and De Brabantse Pijl. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and E3 Harelbeke will also implement the measures.