Claude Losch, the race director of the Festival Elsy Jacobs, has shared significant changes for the event in 2024. Speaking to the daily newspaper Le Quotidien, he revealed that the Festival Elsy Jacobs will transform from a stage race into two separate one-day races next year. Additionally, the event will no longer be a part of the UCI Pro Series.
Losch explained that various factors influenced this decision, primarily aiming to reduce costs. “The challenge of organising a three-day event has been increasing, particularly with a decline in volunteers, notably younger ones. Consequently, managing the budget has become a greater challenge,” he stated.
There were also concerns regarding participation. “In our last edition, not all professional teams participated, leading to a somewhat disappointing field. Furthermore, the UCI’s sudden decision to move the Vuelta to our week caused several top riders to skip our race. Some teams that had initially signed up ended up not participating,” Losch added.
Despite these setbacks, Losch remains determined not to give up, albeit with necessary modifications. “We question the need to continue paying for a place in the UCI Pro Series. We can efficiently organise the race at a lower level. We will still broadcast the event, even though it’s not a requirement. This also allows us the opportunity to welcome regional teams,” he noted.
For 2024, the organisers plan to hold two one-day races, specifically on April 27th (Festival Elsy Jacobs in Garnich) and April 28th (Festival Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg). “The race finishing in Garnich will largely resemble previous years. We plan to modify the Luxembourg course, although discussions with the municipality are still ongoing,” Losch clarified.
The Festival Elsy Jacobs has a prestigious list of past winners. Ally Wollaston from New Zealand, who emerged victorious earlier this year over Marta Bastianelli and Anouska Koster, is the most recent winner of the multi-day format. The event’s roll of honour features prominent names like Bastianelli, Emma Norsgaard, Lisa Brennauer, Kasia Niewiadoma, Anna van der Breggen (twice), and Marianne Vos (three times).