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Belgian semi-classic will be known as Brussels Cycling Classic and shortened to 201km to satisfy UCI's wishes

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BRUSSELS CYCLING CLASSIC

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14.06.2013 @ 13:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

From this year, the autumn semi-classic Paris-Bruxelles will be renamed and instead known as the Brussels Cycling Classic. To satisfy UCI's wishes, the 225km distance will be shortened to 201km and so the race will now be held entirely on Belgian soil.

 

One of the oldest races on the international cycling calendar, the Paris-Bruxelles, will see a complete overhaul as of this year. The UCI has asked organizers to shorten the 225km route and as a consequence the race has now been restructured.

 

First held in 1893, the race was originally a big spring classic but lost some of its prestige during the 1960s. As a consequence, the race was not run from 1967 to 1972 but returned with a autumn spot on the calendar in 1973. Since then it has established itself as one of the most important one-day races in the second part of the season despite seeing a decline in rider interest since the Vuelta a Espana was moved to its current calendar slot.

 

For many years, the race has not started in Paris, instead taking off in Soissons 85km north-east of the French capital. Finishing in Bruxelles, the race has taken in some smaller climbs along the way but has mostly been decided in a bunch sprint on the boulevards in the Belgian capital.

 

With UCI requiring the distance to be shortened, it is no longer possible to keep with tradition and the riders will no longer travel from France to Belgium. Instead, the race will be held entirely on Belgian soil and will be renamed as the Brussels Cycling Classic, covering a 201km route containing 11 smaller climbs.

 

At the same time, the race will be held one week earlier than usual. To avoid the clash with the Canadian WorldTour races, the race will now be held on September 7 during the second week of the Vuelta and until now, organizers have had great interest from most of the WorldTour teams.

 

The race has been won by many of cycling's biggest names and has in recent years been dominated by Robbie McEwen, the Australian winning 5 times from 2002 to 2008. Last year Tom Boonen finally wrote his name onto the winners' list in one of the few Belgian one-day races that was still missing on his palmares.

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