Cycling is hot in Belgium

Cycling is hot in Belgium and more so in Flanders, viewing figures show that cycling is Belgium & Belgium is cycling. The Belgian people are looking at cycling en masse. On Sunday, 694,477 people watched Gent-Wevelgem, with even a peak of 871,299 cycling fans on één. It was therefore a captivating spectacle, with fans in the wind and a stunning Wout van Aert on the Kemmel. Last year it was a bit more – 698,478 viewers – but the decline is peanuts.

The best thing is that the Fleming even looks at the race if no Belgian takes part in the victory – the figures for the Vuelta prove that,” says TV commentator Michel Wuyts. “That means one thing: cycling is deeply rooted in the Flemish nature. We identify ourselves with the “rooting ability” of the driver, who was able to climb the social ladder thanks to the sport.”

Is Belgium in love with Cycling?

It is striking that Belgium is exceptionally crazy about cycling, especially when you bring in the viewing figures of the rest of Europe. The viewing rates show that the Belgians like their races and more particular, the spring classics even if no popular Belgian rider is in the finale. On Sunday the 7th of April 2019 the Ronde van Vlaanderen was the biggest program on television with a peak viewing rate of 1.5 million people and a marketshare of 88,2 %, in comparison with the most popular sport in the world, the Ronde Van Vlaanderen had more people watching than the European Championship qualification game Cyprus – Belgium, with only 1.061.501 people watching Eden Hazard show off his skills.

“Put two Belgians on a bike and the people will look at it – that’s how easy it is,” says Dutch TV commentator Mart Smeets and the figures back this statement, you can say that 8 out of 10 Flemish that watched television on Sunday watched the Ronde. “While it is all pretty much the same?” All of those races for you, from the Omloop over the E3, Ghent-Wevelgem and Dwars door Vlaanderen to the Ronde itself, are similar. If you are not a Belgian, you won’t see any difference.”

Program Viewing rates Date
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 777.946 Sat 02/03/19
Kuurne Brussel Kuurne 742.753 Sun 03/03/19
E3 BinckBank Classic 313.521 Fri 29/03/19
Gent-Wevelgem 694.477 Sun 31/03/19
Ronde Van Vlaanderen 1.072.321 Sun 07/04/19

Making cycling hot all over the world

For a while now, the renewal in the way we watch and experience cycling on TV has also started. Wuyts: “In Ghent-Wevelgem we had‘ on-board cameras ’, which ensure nice intermezzos. We have been conducting interviews during quiet moments for years – although we have to ensure that all those pronounced promises are still relevant when we send them out. There is data on wattage and speed, but you should not exaggerate with that. Well, there is really only one way: the riders must ensure an exciting race. Take Ghent-Wevelgem for example: wasn’t that a wonderful spectacle? That is what the drivers and team leaders should understand: you can think of tricks as much as you want, there is no better way to make the race exciting than an exciting race. ”