| Mid April|
UCI Continental Circuits
| Scheldeprijs (Dutch)|
104 (as of 2016)
Road bicycle racing
| Grand Prize of the Scheldt|
Marcel Kittel (GER)
The Scheldeprijs is a cycling race in Belgium which starts in Antwerp and finishes in Schoten. The event, ranked as a 1.HC race on the UCI Europe Tour, features mostly sprinters on its roll of honour, as it is held on all-flat roads over roughly 200 kilometres.
First held in 1907, it is the oldest still-existing cycling event in Flanders, Belgium's cycling-crazed northern part, notably six years older than the Tour of Flanders monument race. The race had its only interruptions during both World Wars and celebratedlde its 100th edition in 2012. German sprinter Marcel Kittel holds the record with four wins.
The first Scheldeprijs was organised by the Antwerp branch of the Belgian cycling federation (BWB) on July 8, 1907 making it the oldest cycling race in Flanders. In its early years it started and finished in Antwerp, concluding at the now demolished Zurenborg velodrome. Later the start moved to Merksem and then Deurne, on the outskirts of Antwerp. In 1996 the start moved back to the centre of Antwerp. The first race in 1907 was won by the Frenchman Maurice Leturgie. It would be 46 years before another non-Belgian – Dutchman Hans Dekkers – triumphed in 1953.
Until 2009 the race took place in mid-April on the Wednesday following Paris–Roubaix. In 2010, after the Scheldeprijs was purchased by Flanders Classics, the race switched dates with Gent–Wevelgem and has since been held on the Wednesday between the Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix. It has formerly been known as Scheldeprijs Schoten and Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen. Since 2010, the race is simply known as Scheldeprijs.
Prominent winners include Eddy Merckx, Rik van Looy, Mario Cipollini, Freddy Maertens, Roger De Vlaeminck, Erik Zabel, Briek Schotte, Stan Ockers, Georges Ronsse and Tom Boonen. Marcel Kittel holds the record for most wins having recorded four victories. Johan Museeuw, who finished second in 1992 and 1997 chose the 2004 event as his final race, saying, “I could have retired after Paris–Roubaix but I felt it important that my last race should be in Belgium. The Scheldeprijs is a great race and I especially love the start in Antwerp market place.”
The race course consists of one 155 kilometres lap in the countryside of Antwerp province followed by three smaller laps of 15 kilometres in and around Schoten. The route includes seven cobbled sections varying between 1300 and 3000 metres. The race has a neutralised start on the banks of the River Schelde in the centre of Antwerp at the Grote Markt outside the City Hall. Racing begins in Schoten, a few kilometres north east. The finish is outside Schoten town hall.