Zeeland cycling organization TMZ has a knack for bringing old classics to life. After 39 years of absence, the Smokkelronde in Aardenburg returns to the calendar. Last year, TMZ breathed new life into Kaperprijs in Heinkenszand for 66 years.
Who says Smokkelronde, says Miel Verstraete. The former professional – the first winner of the Tour of Central Zeeland in 1957 – was the driving force behind the competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s. ,,I myself was born and raised in Eede and I think this side of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is little recognized in cycling.” Verstraete wanted to make this blind spot visible.
He got off to a good start. The cycling association had not long since created a new category: enthusiasts. It was the gateway for amateurs and Verstraete saw opportunities in this unexplored area. With the support of, among others, Frans van Turenhout, director of the textile company Aardenburg Trico Noble, who had his own professional team for many years, he created the Smokkelronde in 1977.
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