Prime Minister attends launch of cycling season for people with disabilities
Today, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo attended the launch of the “Nieuwsblad Cycling Series” in Oudenaarde. This year, cyclists with a mental disability will be able to participate in well-known cycling races such as the Lotto Six Days of Ghent, the Druivencross in Overijse or the Benelux Tour.
Special Olympics, Flanders Classics, Golazo and Het Nieuwsblad are joining forces to integrate competitions for people with mental disabilities into existing cycling races.
Cycling competitions to promote equality
Alexander De Croo: "This is a wonderful initiative that shows how sport can contribute to inclusion and equal opportunities. We know that some 200 cyclists with intellectual disabilities participate in Special Olympics competitions. Those cyclists can now reach mythical places they might only dream of today. Such a competition can contribute to more openness and equality, I am convinced. In cycling, everyone is equal. The more people can participate the better it is for society."
The same race as professionals
Special Olympics agreed with Flanders Classics and Golazo to use the courses of seven well-known races for professional riders to organise races for people with intellectual disabilities. They will race ahead of the professional riders. Harry Demey of Special Olympics Belgium: "Special Olympics is convinced that sport transcends differences between people. That is why we are happy to support all sports initiatives that promote inclusion. We are stepping up a gear towards a more inclusive society."
After the press conference, the cyclists and the Prime Minister in attendance took another ride along the course of the Tour of Flanders in Oudenaarde. The Nieuwsblad Cycling Series competition will kick off on 29 May with the Ronde van Limburg.