On Saturday the 13th of October the starting signal will be given for the Tacx Pro Classic, a unique one-day cycling race for both professional cyclists and amateurs. The Tacx Pro Classic is a cycling race with a rich history on the soil of the Dutch province of Zeeland.
A long history
Although the Tacx Pro Classic is the newest classic professional road race in the Netherlands, the race has a very long history. The race was formerly known as the ‘Ronde van Midden Nederland’ and was organized since 1959. In that year, the race was held between Middelburg and Goes, as only the islands of Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland had a connection at that time. The other islands were not accessible for the peloton. Some years later, after the closing of Lake Veere and the construction of the Zeelandbrug, the islands Noord-Beveland and Schouwen-Duivenland were added to the course. Between 1976 and 1986 the creation of the Delta Work Oosterscheldekering changed the course once again. In 2014 the 6.6-kilometer-long Western Scheldt Tunnel – the longest tunnel for highway traffic in the Netherlands – was added to the course. The province of Zeeland closed this tunnel for all traffic on the day of the race.
A race for professional cyclists
Although the Ronde van Midden Zeeland was organized since 1959, it only became a road race for professionals from 1974. For a very long time, the course was a one-day race. In 2008, the organization changed the set-up of the race. After a merger with the ‘Zeeuws-Vlaamse OZ Wielerweekend’, the race was changed into a stage race. A few years later that decision was reversed. Since 2012, the Ronde van Midden Zeeland is a one-day road race again.
Title sponsor Tacx
Despite the efforts, the road race was not organized in 2016. Thanks to the entry of the new title sponsor Tacx, the Ronde van Midden Zeeland has been revived. The Tacx company committed itself to the course for no less than three years. Thanks to this collaboration with the Tacx company, the future of the race looks bright again. Because Tacx sponsors 7 WorldTour teams, a strong field of pro cyclists is guaranteed. This year Team LottoNL-Jumbo, Team Lotto-Soudal and Team EF Education First-Drapac will appear at the start. Big names such as Sep Vanmarcke, Enrico Battaglin and Nacer Bouhanni will compete for the win. The road race is renamed after the new title sponsor. The Tacx Pro Classic will be held on the 13th of October 2018.
Racing on the soil of Zeeland
The Tacx Pro Classic will once again be held on the beautiful surroundings of the Dutch province of Zeeland. The terrain will be challenging, as always. The cyclists start in Middelburg and finish at Neeltje Jans. They start on the former island of Walcheren, ride through Zuid-Beveland, Noord-Beveland, the Zeeland Bridge – the longest bridge in the Netherlands – and Schouwen-Duiveland. After passing the Delta Work Oosterscheldekering, the riders will ride back to Noord-Beveland.
Although the weather forecast for Saturday the 13th is excellent – sunshine and not too much wind – race organizer Kees Bal expects an exciting race: “The course covers both long wide roads and narrow polder roads and dikes. On those road narrowings all riders want to be in the front of the peloton. There is a chance riders will try to split the peloton in smaller groups. If that doesn’t work, the spectators will see a thrilling bunch sprint.” A spectacle is guaranteed. The final of the race takes place on the Oosterscheldekering. Riders will pass the fans three times, which gives the fans a unique opportunity to see and cheer on their favourite pro cyclists.
Participate in the Tacx Pro Classic? Register now!
The Tacx Pro Classic is not only a race for professional cyclists. Every cycling enthusiast can register for the tour version of the race, prior to the professional race. Cyclists can register for a tour of 75 or 130 kilometers. Organizer Kees Bal expects more than 1,600 participants at the start. Experience the ultimate cycling day on October 13th by biking through the province of Zeeland, followed by cheering on the pros in the afternoon during the Tacx Pro Classic!
Text by Ellen Brunninkhuis