Chris Baeten, Ambassador from Belgium: he participated for the first time in 1986….reaching Bolzano by bike!

From which country/city are you writing us? Where do you usually go cycling?

I am from Belgium, from Lint; it is a little village (10000 people) 20 km from Antwerp.

I usually cycle on Sundays with my team, however if there is an organized event, I’d rather to participate in that. Sometimes I reach the place of the event with the camper.

During the winter I like to mountain bike, the rest of the year I prefer the road bike, I like to ride on the gravel bike as well.

I collect racing bikes from the 80s till now and I like to ride on retro bikes also.

What meaning has cycling in your country? Sport, commuting, infrastructures for cyclist, tourism…

Belgium has a rich cycling history, we have a lot of races, lots of cyclotourist events, so you can say that cycling lives here!

How many years did you take part of the Giro delle Dolomiti?

15 times.

The first time was in 1986, I was 22 and with 8 people we rode in 8 days from home to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the 9th day to Bolzano and on the 10th day my first Giro started! It was love at first sight, so I came back in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990.

It took until 2009, before I came back every year from 2010 to 2016 also.

2018 and 2019 are the last ones until now. Hopefully not the last ones!

How would you define the Giro delle Dolomiti in three key words?

Unique, Holiday, Mountains.

What do you find unique in the Dolomites, UNESCOs Heritage?

Magnificent landscape, high valleys = relative short climbs, the climate, the combination of Italian flair and food with the German precision.

What do you think about the Giro format, that is a balanced combination of timed and controlled speed sections with road closed to traffic?

I like the format; the traffic closed roads are wonderful. I participate pure for fun so for me the competition element is not necessary: it’s all about the experience!

Out of all the stages you have been cycling in the past years, which one is your favourite? And which Dolomite Pass have you never done and would like to try?

Pfff…   there are a lot of beautiful stages, the Sella Ronda is amazing, I like it clockwise the most.

The Monte Bondone is still on my bucket list.

On average, how many km do you cycle per year?

8000 – 10000 km

25 August 2020