Cycle racing in Zeeland
Home, sweet home! Zeeland has got just the right mix to get a racing cyclist all worked up: wind, cobblestones, straight polder roads and a phenomenal cycling tradition. It is here that cycling heroes of the likes of Jo de Roo, Jan Raas and Johnny Hoogerland grew up. The tradition lives on: in 2010, our dikes, bridges and roads formed the perfect backdrop for several coastal stages of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia.
Four routes are named after the greatest Zeeland cyclists of all time: Jo de Roo, Keetie van Oosten-Hage, Theo Middelkamp and Jan Raas. Each of them has a route in their name in the part of the province where they were born. In addition, if you really want to hammer away in our legendary winds, we have just the route for you, over the Delta Works.
Jo de Roo route - 114 km
The Jo de Roo route takes you from lovely Zuid-Beveland to Noord-Brabant and back. Quite a challenge, with cobblestones, outer dikes and a modest climb.
Keetie van Oosten-Hage route - 86 km
The route crosses Tholen and Sint-Philipsland, where Van Oosten-Hage was born and raised. Much of the route is on breezy outer dikes, through extensive polders.
Theo Middelkamp route - 142 km
The Theo Middelkamp route goes the long way through Zeeland-Flanders and makes a short visit to Belgium. The countryside is rich is history, but the real Flemish influence you will feel in the saddle: cobblestones galore!
Jan Raas route - 101 km
The Jan Raas route takes in the charming Zak van Zuid-Beveland with its old polders and hawthorn bushes. Raas learned his cycling skills here, hurtling along the winding flower-covered dikes.
Zeeuwse Wind route - 126 km
This is one seriously sporting challenge – the Zeeuwse Wind Route – which De Roo, Van Oosten-Hage, Middelkamp and Raas never faced. In their days, this route over the Delta Works did not exist.
The routes have white signposts with red texts and symbols. The route is clockwise, so the signs are placed accordingly. There is no fixed starting or finishing point.
Brochure of tips
Zeeland is a great place for a gang of mates, or your cycling club, to come for a cycling weekend. The routes are explained in detail in the brochure available from a VVV Inspiration Point.
Mix up your stay here with a visit to one of our many sights. We have special packages for one or more days for groups of ten or more. Our famously briny cooking tastes just great, and with its rich protein content, you know it’s a good basis for your energy needs. For a listing of bike cafés, go here.
You agree: safety is paramount during a cycle race trip. It is what has guided us in the our selection of routes. They exclude as much as is feasible being routed over normal bike paths, to avoid other slow traffic.
Many visitors to Zeeland move around on foot, on their bikes and by horse. Please follow these safety guidelines:
- Always wear a helmet. Your head is the most vulnerable part of your body, if any accident happens.
- Wear gloves. Typically, if you fall, it is your hands that are used to absorb it. Gloves protect them from serious damage.
- Respect the highway rules, for the safety of others as well as for yourself. Given the busy state of traffic in the Netherlands, you can ride a cycling race on the same paths as other road users. If you set up an echelon in a time race, keep to the correct side of the road. Sprinting is ok, but only if you have judged that it is safe to do so, without endangering you or other road users.
- Give plenty of advance warning of your presence. Use a bell.
- Adapt your riding style. Like don’t go along at 40 km an hour when kids are just leaving school.
- Don’t let any other ride to get too close. Don’t dart around, do brake carefully. Avoid turning around to look behind you. If need to, hold on to the arm of the rider next to you, to keep the right distance. And remember that the riders at the head of the group are the eyes and ears for everyone. They should announce upcoming situations like a pothole, a crossing or a halt. But you’re always responsible to yourself and others. So watch out!