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Welcome to the website of Art Project
'De Ontsnapping' - The Escape - Die Flucht - La Fuga -L' échappée

The Escape project is a concept from Artist and cycling enthusiast Erik Nagels. He recalled small, naively fashioned, brightly coloured, plastic, toy racing-cyclists that came in packs of wash powder during the 1960s - 70s.
The kids were crazy about them. They collected as many red, yellow, blue and green cyclists as they could, and played their own Tour of Flanders Tour de France and Giro.
Each child invented his own rules but the result was the same for everyone - Their cycling hero rode first across the finish line.

From little to large

This year, the Tour of Flanders has its centennial, and that means a big celebration of cycling with activities, events and exhibitions all over Flanders. Artist Erik Nagels thought this was the ideal moment to give a second incarnation to the tiny toy cyclists – only this time, life-sized and at the centre of the real cycle-racing world!
The Escape consists of a peloton of 72 life-sized, polyester, toy-cyclists in the same bright colours and following the same naive design as the originals. The childlike design and the material execution, including visible moulding edges, refer to the racers from packs of washing powder. For many people, this concept brings back childhood memories, a flashback to the adventures of cycling heroes of bygone days.

Flanders' art of cycling

Under the motto 'Flanders' art of cycling', The Escape promotes Flanders as a cycling country both at home and abroad. The riders rush over green hills, rumble over cobblestones, ride through villages, slice through the suburbs, stop for a level crossing, pass cheering spectators, greet their fans in supporters' pubs or catch their breath at a chip shop. Participating in the Flemish spring race, they ride a surprising route through the Flemish Art Cities and along the coast.
The Escape is living proof of cycle mania in Flanders, and an invitation for you to experience our cycling culture with the passion of a true Fleming.

72 Polyester Flemings

'A Fleming is a cyclist that really goes for a cycling race'. Constantly choosing to attack, he keeps riding until reaching the finish line totally worn out. The expression arose during the Flemish cycling races of the inter-war period when cyclists continually fought their way over the Flemish cobblestone roads. Many foreign racing-cyclists know well that each stubborn, bumpy cobblestone in the Flemish hill zones played a part in assuring a cycle-racing history that few other countries can match. In cycling mad Flanders, the image of a rider splattered with mud and with spare tires around the neck, wobbling over the finish line wearing a frantic expression is typically Flemish.

Become a supporter

A real cycling team only exists through the grace of its supporters – the Escape too! Follow our adventures on our website, Facebook and Twitter. Invite your friends and acquaintances to 'like' our Facebook page, and send your photographs of the colourful racers all over the World. With each new supporter, we change up a gear!

Art knows no borders

From 2014, De Escape goes international. Organisers and cities that would like to lend support to our racers' international careers can contact The Escape via