Rainy skies put damper on the Gordel

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Only 58,000 people turn up for the annual Gordel walk and cycling event on Sunday.

8 September 2008

BRUSSELS – The rain on Sunday put a damper on the annual Gordel walk and cycling event on Sunday as 58,000 people turned up instead of the expected 70,000 participants.

Cyclists and ramblers could choose from several different routes depending on their stamina. There are 14 routes for cyclists and 9 routes for ramblers.

Several politicians including Flemish Premier Kris Peeters took part in the event.

While the Gordel (Belt) is just a fun day out for many, the political situation of the past 18 months has increased interest in the political aspect of the event.

Francophone mayors in three Flemish municipalities on the route first attempted to prevent the Gordel, but the burgomasters of Linkebeek, Wezembeek-Oppem and Kraainem finally relented but insisted that any political slogans should not be hurtful to French-speakers.

Francophones are not amused
The organisers had feared more tacks would be strewn along the route than in previous years and that more signposts would be turned round so that they pointed in the wrong direction.

Tacks were repeatedly thrown on the route in Wemmel and Meise on Sunday morning.

In Zaventem, all signposts were removed overnight and the organisers had to start afresh on Sunday morning.

One member of the general public was caught red handed when he was attempting to remove a signpost.

Francophones’ Bretel
This year, Francophones from Brussels launched their own event - the Bretel (braces). They started off in Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe and went through the "hinterland of Brussels". Participants could choose between a route for ramblers and one for cyclists.

[flandersnews.be / Expatica]

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