Velorooms - Cycling Forum

Professional Cycling => Race Archives => Road Races => 2017 Race Archives => Topic started by: Echoes on August 21, 2017, 20:12

Title: Druivenkoers - Overijse : 23 August 2017
Post by: Echoes on August 21, 2017, 20:12

Here's another 1.1 race I have a soft spot for. Not merely for its climbing route (all connoisseurs know it that way) but rather for its rich past, I feel sorry for the organisers to see what it had become. Just the shadow of a formerly great semi-classic. Besides Overijse is about 3km from home for me.  :P

The Grape Race / Druivenkoers was created in 1961 by the Cycling Club "De Sportvrienden Overijse" which still organises it today, just like the famous cyclocross in Overijse which was created one year earlier: in 1960.

Overijse is situated in the small Dutch-speaking area stuck between Brussels and Wallonia, just like neighbouring town Hoeilaart which the race crosses. The area is called "Druivenstreek" ("The Grape Area") and the race is traditionally closing the "Druivenfeesten" celebrations - this year 18 to 23 August (we are in the midst of it) - during which you have several animations like an awarded granted to the winegrower with nicest and largest grapes, an exhibition of the most beautiful grapes, the election of "Miss Druiven" :fp :D, a procession, etc.

The Grape Race started out as a criterium in 1961 but really got international and prestigious by 1969. The 1970's was really an immensely rich period for the race. Of course it was also the golden era of Belgian cycling but for sure not many Belgian semi-classics had the same palmares in that period:

Roger De Vlaeminck (1970, 1972, 1974, 1978), Georges Pintens (1971), Roger Swerts (1973), Eddy Merckx (1975), Joseph Bruyère (1976), Frans Verbeeck (1977), Ludo Peeters (1979), Fons De Wolf (1980). Some names in there, really.  :o

Beautiful photographic montage with Simon & Garfunkel music here  ;):

In the 1970's the Grape Race could also attract some renowned foreigners you would never have expected there: like Domingo Perureña (3rd 1971) and climber Francisco Galdos 6th in that same edition.  *es

This international field went on in the next decade. On the clip above you could see that Greg LeMond *usa was present at the start in 1992 but he also finished 6th in 1983! Phil Anderson was 7th in 1987 *au. You may also see that Sean Kelly *ie was present in 1989 but he was also 7th in 1982 while Jonathan Boyer  *usa was 2nd to Guido Van Calster. 

Actually up until 1994 before the World Championship was moved to October the Grape Race was the final Belgian build-up for the World Championships and also the last chance to get a selection. That is what it was known for!  :cool After the World Championship move in 1995 it did not make much sense for top riders to race the Grape Race and so it's gradually fallen into abeyance.  :(

Also oddly enough the race has three things in common with Paris-Roubaix: Roger De Vlaminck set the record number of victories, at four victories and that record has been equalled but not broken in the 2010's though not by Tom Boonen but by Björn Leukemans (2010 to 2013).

The route traditionally consists of two long loops and a dozen local laps in Overijse with the Schavei as main climb. As you can see on the clip the Schavei used to be fully cobbled (pictures of 1965 & 1970). Now only the approach of it is cobbled: The Heuvelstraat (already uphill). When the riders take the turn, the real Schavei begins!

Provisional startlist on
Procyclingstats (

I don't know about any streams or even any live coverage but apparently Sporza will only give it some 15' highlights next Thursday between 2.45 and 3.00pm CET before the Tour of Spain coverage starts. Perhaps some other broadcaster might air it.

Title: Re: Druivenkoers - Overijse : 23 August 2017
Post by: Echoes on August 23, 2017, 08:50
Covered live on Eurosport (Is it a video live?)

Frederik Veuchelen at age 39 is still undecided whether this is his Farewell Tour or not. He's not a "celebration-kind" of rider anyway but still has a busy calendar. Right after the Tour of the Limousin he was present at the GP Jef Scherens and claims he's done crazier things in the past. That was no big deal. He's been there since 2004. At the Tour of the Limousin he shared the room with Jérôme Baugnies who was already then focusing on the defence of his title at the Druivenkoers.  :cool

Veuchelen reminds that his team has won 6 of the 7 last edition with the 4 wins by Björn Leukemans and 2 for Jérôme Baugnies.

He does not rule out the possibility to extend for another year. It's gonna be thought out and spoken about. He's not gonna be younger and physically the years are starting to weigh but mentally he feels great and still enjoy cycling.  :cool
Title: Re: Druivenkoers - Overijse : 23 August 2017
Post by: Echoes on August 23, 2017, 09:13
I found the map on In Red the final circuit. Red triangles are the climbs and yellow triangles are descents.  ;)

Title: Re: Druivenkoers - Overijse : 23 August 2017
Post by: Echoes on August 23, 2017, 19:10
Wow third in a row for Jérôme Baugnies and this time in a 30-man sprint unlike two previous years.  :o

Also 7th win for Hilaire Van der Schueren in 8 years.  :cool
Title: Re: Druivenkoers - Overijse : 23 August 2017
Post by: Echoes on August 24, 2017, 11:01
Well Xandro Meurisse clearly deviated from his line in the sprint and pushed Amund Grondahl Jansen to the barriers. Cheap win for Baugnies.  :-x

Apologies to T-72 for the behaviour of my fellow countrymen.  ;)
Title: Re: Druivenkoers - Overijse : 23 August 2017
Post by: Echoes on August 24, 2017, 19:11
Reactions after the race on Directvélo:

Jérôme Baugnies:

This race suits me well but it still was hard to win. I went in a chase with Dimitri Peyskens. As the peloton was coming closer, I rather chose to save energy for the finale. It was the right choice. The sprint was tight with Amund Grøndahl Jansen  *no . Xandro Meurisse was useful in the final kilometer to block the other competitors. I started from far away. It's really peculiar to win here, of course and on top of that, it's for the third time. It's tradition for us to shine here. I still need one victory to equal Björn Leukemans before, why not, attempt a fifth one. I'm aware it's going to be difficult but I'm motivated to achieve that aim in any case.

Lire la suite :

I find it appalling that Baugnies is justifying the action of his teammate. As though they had planned it together and they both deserve disqualification.  :(

Amund Grøndahl Jansen:

It's my best performance of the year. I'm glad about my day. Of course the second place is bitter sweet to me. The Wanty-Groupe Govert played it smart as a team in the last straight line. It's borderline, isn't it? but sometimes some sprints are turbulent. In my first months at LottoNL-Jumbo I spent long moments in breakaways. Today after Lars Boom retired from the race, I could ride for myself. It's a pleasant feeling. I hope I can make another nice performance before season ends.

He does not seem willing to lodge any complaint, does he?

Xandro Meurisse:

I was the "reserve" leader on this race. I wanted to race Overijse because I knew that the profile could suit me. I knew that I could ride for myself while still be careful not to thwart Jérôme Baugnies' plans. There's mutual respect between us. He had to race for me at the Tour of Luxembourg. Today, it rather was the opposite. We have similar skills: punchers with a sprint after a hard race. I was in Jérôme Baugnies' wheel at the start of the sprint. I blocked Amund Grøndahl Jansen of Norway a little bit during the sprint. This podium is boosting my final part of the season before the next big rendez-vous for me: the Tour of Britain. This year's route is less hard than last year's. The field will be impressive once again. I'm looking forward to it. Last year I took the mountain jersey and was twice in the GC top10. It's really one of my favourite races

Lire la suite :

So admitting it and feels like it's okay...

By the way, the ranking:

I'm very glad to see that Julien Mortier of Tournai top10ed this race. :cool If you remember he was one of the U23 riders selected in the Belgian national team at the Tour of Belgium. This year he was 9th at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It looks like he's better at pro races than at U23 races.  :D

On some other forums, I had an argument with some poster reducing the race as a mere "criterium", just because it's not really a media-friendly and implying that we shouldn't bother making justice for such a "small race". :angry I found it so shocking. I mean we've discussed here how much financial and organisational trouble those small race organisers have and of course if the sacrosanct GT's are what they are today ot's because such races do exist. If you scrap those races, the whole "card castle" is collapsing, don't you think so? So I think it's about time to do something for those race instead of despising. I wish I had the skills to be a voluntary official on such races, to give a hand at my humble level.  :(