Organisers of the Belgian Spring Classics, including the Tour of Flanders, will set up concentre road blocks along the race route to reduce the risk of a truck-related terror attack.
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.
To prevent the risk of similar incidents occurring in this spring’s one-day races in Belgium, side streets with busy areas and roads that lead onto the course will be blocked by concentre blocks and trailers.
In addition, luggage will continue to be checked in public areas, such as the cobbled climbs of the Koppenberg, and at the finish. This was introduced in the 2016 spring races with people informed not to bring coolers or bags, and also at the Tour de France, where 23,000 police officers were present.
“We must ensure that no vehicles can drive on the course. We obviously can not guarantee that for the entire route, but we will in places where many people come to watch, such as the Koppenberg, the Kwaremont and Oudenaard,”Flanders Classics race director Wim Van Herreweghe said.
“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.
The annual German May Day race, Eschborn-Frankfurt, was cancelled in 2015 after the discovering of bomb-making materials were found in a house close to the route; later that year, French police shot at a car that attempted to crash through the barriers on the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées.