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Massive crowds, the smell of frites, thumping beer tents, epic mud, partisan fans, ultra-tough courses and world-class racers.
Yet knowing a pilgrimage to a big race like the Superprestige in Gavere pronounced: In the end, the event over-delivered with memories, many unexpected. Come along for the trip through the photo essay below. Any event that doubles a town's population for a day is bound to dominate the local's attention, and for them, it and the day after are effectively local holidays.
Yet the Superprestige Gavere stop, held all but three years sinceis one of the oldest races and holds a special place in the sport's lore.
Part of Gavere's oversized presence is simply because of the venue and conditions. The wooded, hilly course on a military base often presents stunning fall foliage, tough climbs and descents, and yes, epic Belgian mud.
For some riders, those characteristics give this race a larger footprint on the race calendar. The Gavere course, held on a military base, is one of Europe's oldest and most scenic races, and shares some characteristics with Cincy's Devou venue.
I just really like this course. This is a real highlight on the calendar. For others, the race's history puts extra pressure on them to perform.
U23 World Champ Eli Iserbyt, racing with the Elites at Gavere, said before taking the start that he tries to approach the race like any other, but he can't help but feel the pressure from those around him. Eli Iserbyt had a good start to sit in the top 10 before fading to 24th. A day before the race, there must have been more than fifty people working feverishly to complete the build-out of the nearly-finished course.
Construction demands dwarf any American event, simply because of the number and scale of the facilities required for the one-day event. Fans take in lunch and beers in the VIP tent before the racing starts.
Four men and a forklift were dedicated just to distribute the beer kegs throughout the course. Just a small portion of what was on tap. While it takes a village to build up the course and facilities, the riders and their teams arrived Sunday and created their own village.
At a race that most racers drive to, it's breathtaking to see the number of campers the larger teams bring in. Its Elite racers alone took up an entire parking lot, with one camper for each rider.
The Juniors had to find space in another lot. There was no room for them after the campers and mechanics for the Elites got set up.
Marlux Bingoal is one of the biggest teams in Europe, and just its Elite riders brought six campers. The biggest stars have the biggest presence.
Mathieu van der Poel and his brother David shared the biggest camper on the lot, and it was just for their bikes and personal support staff.
The Van der Poel family, their bikes and their fans command the biggest presence at the Superprestige Gavere. The brothers arrived late in a personal car before scurrying into the camper after a few autographs. Next door, the team had its own souvenir tent, while there was also a fan club tent, a tent and camper for Sanne Cant.
The biggest souvenir stand was selling product from the biggest stars. You've got to find space somewhere else. There's no room for others, after you take into account all the fans. Fans of all ages wait for a Mathieu van der Poel appearance, while his mechanic cleans up from the day's effort.Globerovers Magazine focuses on the adventurous intrepid traveler.
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