Located in the south of the Netherlands, Limburg is a world leader when it comes to cycling. In 2018, the province hosted the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, and the city of Valkenburg - at the heart of the region - has organised five UCI Road World Championships, most recently in 2012.
Limburg is home to major cycling events, including the Amstel Gold Race and Amstel Gold Race Ladies. Over 50 cycling competitions take place in the province each year, and 100 cyclo-sportives are organised with 75,000 participants of all ages taking part on courses that cross Limburg. The province can be seen in a recent video, broadcast across the UCI’s channels, showcasing the region’s cycling credentials.
Limburg Cycling is the central organisation for cycling in Limburg. Their long-term strategy to increase the use of bikes aims to benefit health and the economy through cycling, while connecting various local activities and races into region-wide programmes. These include the Limburg Cycling Youth Cup (13 races for children), Limburg Cycling Chrono Trofee (5 time trial races) and Limburg Cycling Classics (5 classic races). A recent addition is a long-term action plan to increase and promote women’s cycling.
Base for talent
Limburg is also attractive for competitive athletes thanks to its state-of-the-art training and testing facilities, experienced coaches and unique cross-border locations. The province is home to a Regional Training Centre and the Netherlands National Training Centre, while cyclists from all over the globe base themselves at the Watersley Sports & Talentpark, where Dutch and international riders can take part in Talent Test Days.
The region is also home to a number of professional cycling teams such as Team Sunweb with their recently-opened Keep Challenging Center. Good training facilities and a central location within easy reach of six international airports, are why teams like Team Sunweb, USA Cycling and Boels-Dolmans CyclingTeam have selected Limburg as a base.
Shimano Experience Center offers unique concept
In April 2019, the Shimano Experience Center opened in Valkenburg. The centre enables people to get in touch with all kinds of cycling, be it road biking, mountain biking or exploring the city by e-bike. The key themes revolve around mobility, sustainability, health and technology. Thanks to interactive simulators, visitors can find out what it is like to ride different types of bicycle. The Shimano Experience Center further cements the town’s reputation as the main destination for cycling in the area.
Cycling “runs through their veins”, they say in Limburg, and this is evident - particularly in Valkenburg - judging from the level of interest in cycling in the town and the provision of high quality facilities for everyday cycling. The town benefits markedly from all types of cycle tourist, including those making a ‘pilgrimage’ to the Cauberg, the spiritual home of cycling in the Netherlands which features in the Amstel Gold Race and the Amstel Gold Race Ladies, and has provided a challenge at five editions of the UCI Road World Championships and even the 2018 UCI Cyclo-cross Worlds.
Meanwhile, the Tom Dumoulin Bike Park opened in 2017 in the town of Sittard with a unique and safe cycling track, 3.2km in length. It has already hosted some UCI-registered races like the Binck Bank Tour, Hammer Series and Boels Ladies Tour, is the home for regional clubs and hosts numerous recreational activities for youth cycling.
It is clear that the future of cycling appears bright in Limburg, a true UCI Bike Region.