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Major Celebration in 2021, Bonus in 2020

The VAM mountain in the town of Wijster, in the province of Drenthe forms the backdrop for Het Nederlandse Loterij National Road Race Championships in both 2020 and 2021. The grand cycling festival that was due to take place in June of this year around the Col du VAM had already been postponed to 2021. However, due to the easing of the Coronavirus measures, it has been possible to reschedule the National Road Race Championships for later on in 2020. On 21, 22 and 23 August, the National Road Race for the title is scheduled for the Amateur Men, the Elite Women and the Elite Men

The easing of the measures for sports events as of 1 July gave rise to the possibility of

rescheduling the National Championships for later on in 2020. Following consultation between the KNWU, organiser Courage Events, the municipality of Midden-Drenthe and the province of Drenthe, the decision was taken to postpone the event to 21, 22 and 23 August. This, of course, is on the proviso that the current rules aren’t tightened again in the meantime.

In the starting blocks

Thijs Rondhuis, of Courage Events, the organiser of the National Championships, explains: “Because everyone was already in the starting blocks, it was possible to make quick alterations if the national authorities changed the rules.

And that’s exactly what happened! Various parties, organisations, entrepreneurs and

inhabitants of this province have put a great deal of time and energy into all the preparations, so this is a great reward for all their hard work.

The proposed major cycling celebration is still due to take place in 2021, and this year, the National Championships are for the elite cyclists only. You could call it a “light version”.”

Representative Henk Brink is pleased with this development too: “It’s great that the National Road Race Championships are still taking place this year in the cycling province of Drenthe. The VAM mountain is perfect for these championships, which is allowed to take place in accordance with the applicable rules. A taste of what’s to come in the 2021 National Championships”.

On the Friday, the 23 Amateur racers will stand on the starting line. On the Saturday, the Professional Women and on the Sunday, the Professional Men. An adapted 7.3 kilometer route was developed on an enclosed route. This route only has three roadside neighbours and doesn’t have much traffic. Audiences are not permitted due to safety reasons. The event will be broadcast live on television, where cycling fans can follow the races and get to know the natural landscape in Drenthe surrounding the VAM mountain.

A Grand cycling celebration in 2021 

At the top of the VAM mountain is a board displaying the text: ‘National Road Race Championships, 19-21 June 2020’. The plans were complete and the weather conditions had been perfect. Col du VAM, as is another name for the VAM mountain, was ready for unique national championships. Just like other major events in the Netherlands, the prestigious 3-day event surrounding the National Road Race Championships in Drenthe was unable to go ahead and was postponed to 2021.

This means that in 2021, Drenthe will be hosting the Dutch Championships for 8 categories: Elite Men, Women, Amateur Men, Elite Without Contract, Ju- niors, Junior Women, Newcomers and Newcomer Girls. “The preparations were already far advanced, the plans are largely complete. All kinds of parties have already put a great deal of energy into this, and we will take that energy with us into next year”, says representative Henk Brink. The exact date is as yet unknown. The event in 2021 has been allocated back to Drenthe.

Positive impact

The Coronavirus crisis has made it difficult for many elite teams to keep their heads above water. That is also one of the reasons why National Championships, even in a smaller form, were what many racers were hoping for. General Manager Thorwald Veneberg of the KNWU is pleased that

the Nederlandse Loterij National Road Race Championships have been rescheduled. “For many riders, this is an event that they can look forward to” We would have had good reasons had we been unable to organise it this year, given the social concerns that took priority a few months ago. But now that sports events are permitted once again, we are looking forward to what is an important racing moment for us as an association. With the decision to go ahead with organising the event anyway, it is important to take into account that these National Championships are an important moment for the continental teams and the women’s teams in particular to generate exposure for their sponsors. Especially now that no races have taken place for a number of months. With the cooperation of all the above-mentioned parties, as an association we are now able to and want to do our bit to give this season that extra bit more sparkle.”

VAM mountain as a backdrop

It is the first time that a national race is being organised around the VAM mountain. Drenthe is the cycling province of the Nether-lands and the Col du VAM is a unique location. It is the place where cycling, hiking, cycle racing and mountain biking come together. Henk Brink explains: “The fact that we are able to hold the National Road Race Championships here is the icing on the cake. A token of appreciation for everyone who has made tremendous efforts to put cycling in Dren-the on the map. Every time I stand on the VAM mountain, I know for certain that it has the potential to become an amazing event. It is a top location.”

A strong collaboration

In the preparations for the National Championships, the collaboration between the organisation, authorities

and entrepreneurs has grown. As a result, a unique, broad framework for the event was created from which entrepreneurs from the region are able to benefit. For cycle racing enthusiasts, the National Championships formed the perfect reason for a weekend away in Drenthe. It is a good way of

attracting more tourists. There are a number of overnight accommodation options, and campsites, hotels, B&Bs, group accommodation and holiday parks have worked hard to prepare. These plans will be retained for 2021.

Cycle racing routes across the Col du VAM

The VAM mountain is now known nationally and people have even heard of it across the border. If you want to experience for yourself what it’s like to cycle on the VAM mountain, the following pa-ge shows a map with four cycling routes that pass the VAM mountain, varying from 50 to 80 kilometres. The GPX routes can be downloaded from www.drenthe.nl.



UCI BIKE REGION LABEL

Launched in 2015, the UCI Bike Region Label supports and rewards cities and regions that not only host major UCI cycling events, but also invest in developing a quality cycling network and related infrastructure. Advantages for the city or region are the international recognition of the cycling strategy and it increases the attractiveness as a cycling destination. Do you want to know exactly what those criteria are? Read more on the UCI website.

The province of Drenthe was the first region to receive the UCI Bike Region Label in October 2016. As the leading cycling province in the Netherlands, we are, of course, very proud of this! We earned the label by performing a number of showcases.

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