The president of the Belgian cycling federation (RLVB), Tom Van Damme, has announced that the cycling mad nation hopes to host the UCI road race World Championships again, perhaps as soon as 2016. The last time the international event took place in Belgium was in 2002 in Zolder.
"We have two years to apply. Our aim is to host the Worlds again in 2016, 2017 or 2018," said Van Damme, who told DHnet that the project would include the whole of the Belgian territory: Wallonie, Flanders and the German-speaking part. The French-speaking south and the Flemish-speaking north of the country have not always stood united in the country that has not had a regular government for over one year.
"The idea would be to propose a complete package for Belgium, a project that will appeal to UCI president Pat McQuaid, with whom we have already talked. All the time trails would be located in west and east Flanders, the team time trial in the German-speaking part of the country and the road races would start in Louvain and finish in Namur," Van Damme explained.
"Why Namur? Because it's the Wallonie capital and because there is a lot of interest from there, while Liège is very busy with the Tour de France right now [the 2012 Tour will start in Liège]."
"We are able to make this happen by working together, in Flanders as well as in Wallonie," Van Damme said. "There is a lot of good will on both sides and we are convinced that we have the financial and technical resources to succeed."
This year's world championships will be held In Copenhagen, Denmark, while the 2012 world championships will be held in the Limburg region of the Netherlands and Florence, Italy will host the 2014 championships.