Almost three-quarters of Scheldeprijs will take place on Dutch roads in 2019 as the race starts from Terneuzen in the Netherlands for the second successive year before crossing into Belgium for the traditional finish in Schoten, near Antwerp.
Last year Scheldeprijs organiser Flanders Classics broke with tradition and announced that it had signed a two-year agreement with Terneuzen to host the start of the race, which takes place on the Wednesday between the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Scheldeprijs has traditionally started and finished in the province of Antwerp. From 1996 until 2016, the race started in the city of Antwerp itself, while the 2017 event began in Tom Boonen’s hometown of Mol to honour his final season as a professional rider. Antwerp is currently the start town of the Tour of Flanders, having replaced Bruges in 2017.
After spending 130km in the Netherlands last April, the 2019 edition of Scheldeprijs will feature some 149km of racing on Dutch roads before tackling the fraught finishing circuit in Schoten.
As was the case in 2018, this year’s event will leave Terneuzen by way of the Western Scheldt tunnel, and the opening part of the race will see the peloton exposed to the North Sea winds that buffet the polders of Zeeland.
A year ago, the peloton splintered into echelons on this segment of the race, and a group of almost 30 riders – including favourites Dylan Groenewegen and Arnaud Démare – were disqualified after failing to stop at a level crossing.
After passing through Goes, Reimerswaal, Woensdrecht and Ossendrecht, the race will cross into Belgium at Putte-Kappellen, with 54km still to race. The race will make the first of three passages across the finish line on Churchillaan with 34km remaining.
Two laps of the traditional finishing circuit follow, where the riders will tackle the cobblestones of Broekstraat before a rapid run-in to the finish of what has proved over the years to be a Classic for sprinters.
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) won last year’s edition of Scheldeprijs, beating Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Chris Lawless (Team Sky) in a bunch sprint on Churchillaan.
The 2019 Scheldeprijs takes place on Wednesday, April 10, with five-time winner Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) expected to be among the participants.