Kermesse crisis overstated?

Rhys photo

Belgian Cycling Federation (KBWB) has tightened the eligibility rules for entry to “pro” kermesse races causing fears that fields would be too small leading to loss of interest by both the public and sponsors. Only riders on a ProTour team, professional continental team, continental team or Top Competitie U27 (whatever that is!) will have the right to start.

Not surprisingly lots of Elite amateurs fancied the chance to give Tom Boonen a good kicking and fields of more than 250 riders were not unknown. Why the KBWB banned certain categories rather than placing a limit on field numbers is unclear and some organisers believed that the Federation wanted kermesse races to “die a quiet death”.

If that is true the Wielerbond will be disappointed as at the first kermesse of the year yesterday at Wanzele in East Flanders there was 146 starters.



  1. smedis said

    Why should the KBWB want to see kermesse races die? Congest busy public roads too much? Take Belgian riders’ focu off conventional road racing in favour of parochial, ‘local hero’ events?
    The federation has never admitted that it wants to engineer a decline in kermesse races but the organisers think that is the aim. If it is true I am sure traffic is a big part of it. Also I can’t imagine that the big hitters like racing in massive fields containing non pro riders.

  2. smedis said

    If kermesse race are run off with such large fields, even allowing for foreign riders, it suggests a good grass roots picture in Belgium i e no. of amateurs engaged in the sport, no. of new entrants. How is this when Jean Bobet in his recent book says important clubs in France, sometimes ‘feed’ clubs to pro teams, are struggling for new entrants as young people are preferring football or rugby, going to the gym, Nintendo etc. Is there such a big social difference France/Belgium?

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