Spring Classics & WW1

02 April to 15 April 2020

Not to be missed. We all know about the Spring Classics. Enough said - right up there with the Tour de France. What may come as a surprise is that during World War 1 a small number of Kiwis and Aussies operated as the Anzac Cyclist Battalion, mainly in Northern France and Belgium. Our plan is find the perfect mix between the Spring Classics as well as honouring those who rode before us. We’ll visit towns that the Anzac cyclists stayed in, memorial sites and even mirror some of their rides.

We’ve tinkered with the extremely successful 2018 to make it even better in 2020. We’ve decided to start and finish in Brussels. You’ll also see that we’ve added a V.I.P experience for the Tour of Flanders.

There will be a choice of two rides daily - 60 and 100km plus. We welcome non-riders to join us and they will have their own guide. A highlight of this trip will be the chance to ride both the Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders Sportives.


2020 Spring Classics WW1 Tour Itinerary

Day 1, Thursday 02 April

Welcome to the home of cycling

On arrival in Brussels you are likely to be asked what cycle team you support. They are cycling fanatics. Welcome to the start of our adventure together.

Today is easy, our hotel is located at the airport. Arrive early afternoon and then we’ll put all the bikes together. Or if you have hired then we’ll make sure everything fits.

Tonight we drive in to Brussels for a quick walking tour of the old town. Before sitting down town to a fantastic Belgian feast, supplemented by Belgian beer and Belgium chocolates. This trip is no weight-loss program. We’ll introduce the team and talk through the next two weeks. Spring Classics – here we come.

/ Meals included – Dinner
/ Hotel – Brussels Airport


Day 2, Friday 03 April

It’s all about the cobbles.

We start with a tour highlight. We found a cycling shop in 2018 that is simply the best in the world. They even put on free coffee for us. We spent 90mins there and the only complaint was that it wasn’t long enough. It really is a must and a great way to start our trip together. After the bike shop head off to the Ronde van Vlaanderen Center. An interactive cycling-themed museum devoted to the Tour of Flanders. You simply can’t go to this part of the world without visiting. It even has its own café and even the sugar comes in UCI World Champion colours.

This afternoon is all about getting on that bike for a leisurely ride of 50km. We’ll target some of tomorrows course so there will be plenty of cobbles to practice on. The cobbles in Belgium are nice when compared with France. (hmm)

Team Macchiato (non-riders) - we won’t make you follow us to a bike shop. You’ll head back off to Brussels to visit the world famous Atomium amongst other tourist sights before catching up with us later on in the day.

/ Meals included – Breakfast and Dinner
/ Hotel - Oudenaarde

Day 3, Saturday 04 April

Tour of Flanders Sportive (fun ride)

Tomorrow sees the 104th edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders in English), one of cycling's legendary Spring Classics. The day before the pros battle it out, a sportive is held to allow weekend warriors to share the experience of riding the famous cobbles. Team RIDE Holidays won’t be riding the full 260km distance, we are here for a holiday after-all! We will target the more social distances of 130 or 75km. Our recommendation would be the shorter distance as cobbles will still be a bit foreign to you. Totally up to you.

Today will offer a smorgasbord of cyclists from all over the world. It’s more than just a bike ride. We encourage you to meet as many cyclists as you possibly can. Spain, Japan, Italy, Russia and Canada – you name it… all these countries will be represented. Shake a hand, kiss a baby and then let’s have a beer together at the finish.

Team Macchiato – tomorrow you’ll join us for the great race. So, today you head for the coastal city of Ostend. The central city is gorgeous however most people visit this region to see the Atlantic WW1 Wall museums. There are also markets, plazas and of course tall ship’s like the Mercator. You certainly won’t be bored. Or, if you decide that you want to be at the finish line to support your loved one then we can easily make that happen. Flexibility is the key.

/ Meals included – Breakfast and Dinner (at the Ronde van Vlaanderen Center)

/ Hotel - Oudenaarde

Day 4, Sunday 05 April

Tour of Flanders Spring Classic. V.I.P

Simply put – a special day. We’ll head off early in the bus as we want you to experience the race start in Antwerp. It’s a must and a very rare occasion that you can get up close and personal with the professional teams before they set off on a hectic 260km. You can certainly see how nervous they are. With valid reason.

We’ve changed a few things after 2018. One of those is that we simply need to have V.I.P seats for 2020. We’ll pick one of the famous bergs on offer. Sit back and relax for the rest of the afternoon as you watch the race unfold. There will be a big screen, beer and of course the cobbles will be only metres away. You’ll get to see the pro’s three times today.

Yes, a big day, but I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Tonight we sit down for a group dinner with the real likelihood that one of the pro teams will be at the next table. In 2018 we shared the restaurant with the winner - Niki Terpstra, Philippe Gilbert and the rest of the Quickstep team. It was a special night and one that we’d ike to repeat in 2020.

/ Meals included – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
/ Hotel - Oudenaarde

Day 5, Monday 06 April

B&B - Bruges & Beer

Today we head for Bruges. Via velo. Yes, we’d like to get a good ride under our belts. The plan is to ride from the hotel to the UNESCO World Heritage City. It’s only 70km as the crow flies. Those that want longer can certainly have it. There will certainly be a triple digit ride on offer.

If you wanted to design a fairy-tale medieval town, it would be hard to improve on central Bruges (Brugge in Dutch). Picturesque cobbled lanes and dreamy canals link photogenic market squares lined with soaring towers, historic churches and old whitewashed houses. And there’s plenty of it.

This afternoon we’ve booked two local walking guides to show us around. And we also hop on a canal boat. There will also be plenty of time to visit one of many breweries on offer. Dinner? Up to you…. there are hundreds of restaurants to choose from. We’ll get back on the bus at about 7pm and head back to the hotel. A perfect day in Belgium.

/ Meals included – Breakfast (Dinner own arrangements)
/ Hotel - Oudenaarde

Day 6, Tuesday 07 April

Messines Ridge

We leave our Belgium home this morning and embark on the first of our WW1 ambitions.

The last few days will have been pretty full on, so today we’ll sleep in until just after 6am. Nah, let’s make it 7am. After a leisurely breakfast before we get on the road. The great thing about this part of the world is that everything is close by. We could easily visit 3 to 4 countries by lunch. But, we won’t.

Today is important, and sobering. We visit Messines Ridge after first visiting the Mont Kemmel / Kemmelberg battlefield. The ANZAC cycle corps were involved at Kemmelberg and played a major role in the Battle of Messines which was June, 1917. There are a few fallen New Zealand and Australian cyclists buried and commemorated at Messines. We visit the cemetery where many rest. It’s doubtful a dry eye will be found. Certainly a significant day on our 2020 itinerary.

/ Meals included – Breakfast and Dinner
/ Hotel – To be advised

Day 7, Wednesday 08 April

We ride for 10 brave soldiers today

We’ll ride from our hotel and re-trace many of the roads that the Anzacs rode in WW1, stopping when we can to share the history.

High on our list will be the Marfaux British Cemetery where there is a memorial commemorating 10 men who served with the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion, who were killed in July 1918 and have no known grave.

We also visit Moet and Chandon for a unique wine tasting and tour. The NZCC visited here in 1919 so there certainly is some WW1 relevance.

/ Meals included – Breakfast (Dinner own arrangements)
/ Hotel – To be advised

Day 8, Thursday 09 April

Flexibility is the key…

We like to have a flexible day up our sleeves. It’s important. You may want to catch up on washing or we may need to make up for a weather delay.

The ride plan at this stage is to head back to Montagne de Reims Regional Park where the cycling is fantastic. There are many Grand Champagne Houses to visit if you are that way inclined. In fact, there’s the Lighthouse of Verzenay. From the top its 360 degree views. What of? Champagne Vineyards.

Team Macchiato visit Hautvillers for a short walk in one of the most beautiful villages in the area. Here we will find the famous Church of Hautvillers where is said that the Abbot Dom Pérignon discovered the process of fermenting & how to make a drink with bubbles.

This evening we dine in Reims. One of the most beautiful cities in France and capital city of the Champagne region.

/ Meals included – Breakfast (Dinner is your own arrangements)
/ Hotel – To be advised

Day 9, Friday 10 April

Arras tunnels

Tomorrow could possibly be one of the biggest cycling challenges of your lives. So, today is a off the bike rest day. After breakfast we drive to the tunnels at Arras. The museum, visitors centre and tour thereafter is fantastic, and a uniquely NZ story. In fact – after the 2018 trip I asked clients for their highlight and the tunnels were frequently mentioned.

The network of tunnels remains one of the best-preserved traces of New Zealand’s contribution to the First World War in Europe. The remarkable efforts of the men who built this system has been commemorated with the opening of the Arras Tunnel beneath the new National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

This afternoon we rest our legs. If you took on 70km at the Tour of Flanders then maybe you should step up a notch tomorrow. No pressure.

Our home for the next three nights is Lille. 19km from our hotel is a certain famous velodrome. With a bit of luck late today we’ll get to check out the Roubaix Museum.

/ Meals included – Breakfast and Dinner
/ Hotel – Lille

Day 10, Saturday 11 April

Paris-Roubaix Sportive – 70, 145 or 172km?

It’s important to remember that this is a holiday (of sorts) and because of that we are suggesting that you choose one of the shorter fondo options. Both the 70 and 145km start and finish at the Roubaix Velodrome. Both include cobbles although it is certainly more of a ride than a race. Whatever you choose – this is a bucket-list ride that will be the envy of all your friends back home.

You’ll get a chance to ride with over 5000 other cyclists today. If it’s the mystic Forest of Arenberg that you want then you’ll need to pick the 145km option. Certainly you’ll be fit enough by now. Let’s hope for good weather.

Team Macchiato – we simply need you at the finish. Yes, some of us will be hurting. You’ll be required for support as well as a few hugs.

Tonight we dine together and discuss the plan for tomorrow. The pros will be anxious. And amongst them will be New Zealand’s own Jack Bauer.

/ Meals included – Breakfast and Dinner
/ Hotel – Lille

Day 11, Sunday 12 April

Paris - Roubaix Grandstand view (V.I.P)

In 2018 we nailed the day. The plan for today is to change nothing. It’s simply a fantastic day watching the sport we love.

There’s no point in heading to the race start. It’s a 3 hour drive away and you would have seen the Flanders start. Our plan is to drive to the first of the cobbles sections. The pros will have been riding for 100km before they see their first bit of pave. It’s an awesome atmosphere as we join a few thousand French in a tiny town. Back on the coach please – just in time for happy hour. It’s only a short 90min drive to the most famous velodrome in the whole world.

We’ve booked the same seats as 2018. When we first walked I thought there must be a mistake. Our seats are literally on the finish line. You’ve got a big screen, cheese (because you’re in France) and of course liquid refreshments to enjoy. I will never ever forget Peter Sagan winning in 2018. He crossed the line only 5 metres from where we were sitting. Same again please, Peter.

We’ve eaten at the hotel twice now so tonight we’ll pop in to Lille.

/ Meals included – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
/ Hotel – Lille

Day 12, Monday 13 April

Le Quesnoy

It would simply be impossible to ignore the historic importance of Le Quesnoy in North West France. Just a week before the end of the First World War in November 1918, the New Zealand Division captured the French town of Le Quesnoy. The Kiwis scaled a ladder set against the ancient walls of the town and took the remaining Germans as prisoners. The liberation of Le Quesnoy was just one of the many campaigns that New Zealanders fought on the Western Front, the line that stretched across northern France and Belgium.

It was the New Zealanders' last major action in the war. To this day, the town of Le Quesnoy continues to mark the important role that New Zealand played in its history. Streets are named after New Zealand places, there is a New Zealand memorial and a primary school bears the name of a New Zealand soldier.

Our plan today is simple. We’ll park the bus 80 to 100km away from Le Quesnoy and ride scenic country lanes and cycle trails in to town. On arrival we’ll be met by town officials who have offered to show us around as well as give us a history lesson that I’m sure will leave us proud to be Kiwis.

We’ll then start to make our way back to Brussels – where it all began.

/ Meals included – Breakfast and Dinner
/ Hotel – To be advised..

Day 13, Tuesday 14 April

We ride today, because we ride…

Our last day in Belgium. We really want to finish with a great bike ride. Which is why we’ve targeted a quiet country area of Belgium to spend last night. This morning we will offer a choice of rides. 70km and 110km. This afternoon we pack down the bikes and head back to the big city. Our French guides leave us. Job well done. Thanks Sebastian and Yohan.

Team Mac visit Mons for the day before meeting us in Brussels. We’re staying at the same hotel as we did on day 1.

Tonight we celebrate. What a fantastic two weeks we’ve spent together. We’ll even crack open some champagne. Oh, and eat chocolate and chips.

/ Meals included – Breakfast and farewell Dinner
/ Hotel – Brussels Airport

Day 14, Wednesday 15 April

Our tour finishes after breakfast. For some it’s time to head home, while others will take some time in Brussels or head off to explore other parts of Europe. Thank you for joining us on the adventure of a life time.

Safe travels for the remainder of your journey.

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Tour Highlights

  • Official WW1 ANZAC Cycle corp ceremony
  • Messines Ridge, Arras Tunnels and of course - Le Quesnoy
  • Entry - Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix Sportive
  • V.I.P access to the Paris Roubaix and Tour of Flanders
  • Belgian Beer & Belgian Chocolate - enough said
  • Visit Bruges and Reims
  • Moet and Chandon – tour and tasting
  • Ronde van Vlaanderen Center
  • Multiple ride options daily


Tour Inclusions

  • 13 nights’ accommodation using quality 3 & 4* hotels
  • All breakfasts, 9 dinners and 2 lunches
  • Choice of 2 to 3 rides. 60, 80 and 100km plus.
  • GPS assistance & physical maps
  • 7-8 staff including mechanic, non-riding guide
  • Tips included for all European staff as well as meals included in the itinerary
  • Two vehicles – 48 seat coach and one smaller 9 seat van support
  • Souvenir booklet, itinerary included
  • RIDE Holidays cycling jersey and bibs, pants (special ANZAC WW1 version)
  • Local guides for Bruges.
  • Champagne, Beer and chocolate tasting

The Price Excludes

  • Airfares and extra accommodation
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory!
  • Meals, alcohol not indicated in itinerary

Tour Cost (per person, New Zealand Dollars)

NZD$ 8995.00 per person
NZD$ 1285.00 Single room supplement
NZD$ 700.00 Bike hire

Deposit - $1000.00 per person. This is 100% refundable up until 01 April 2019. 12 months prior to departure which is when it becomes non-refundable. At which stage we will require a 2nd non-refundable deposit of $1500.00 per person. The balance is to be paid 90 days prior to departure.

Please note that the cost of the tour is subject to change. Mainly because of exchange rate fluctuations.



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