Vuelta a España
The Vuelta a España is an annual multi-stage bicycle race held in Spain, while occasionally making passes through nearby countries. Inspired by the success of the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, the race was first organized in 1935; the race was prevented from being run by the Spanish Civil War and World War II in the early years of its existence. As the Vuelta gained prestige and popularity the race was lengthened and its reach began to extend all around the globe. Since 1979, the event has been staged and managed by Unipublic, until in 2014, when Amaury Sport Organisation acquired control, with both working together; the peloton expanded from a Spanish participation to include riders from all over the world. The Vuelta is a UCI World Tour event, which means that the teams that compete in the race are UCI ProTeams, with the exception of the wild card teams that the organizers can invite. Along with the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, the Vuelta makes up cycling's prestigious, three-week-long Grand Tours.
While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same with the appearance of at least two time trials, the passage through the mountain chain of the Pyrenees, the finish in the Spanish capital Madrid. The modern editions of the Vuelta a España consist of 21 day-long segments, over a 23-day period that includes 2 rest days. All of the stages are timed to the finish, after finishing the riders' times are compounded with their previous stage times; the rider with the lowest aggregate time gets to don the red jersey. While the general classification garners the most attention there are other contests held within the Vuelta: the points classification for the sprinters, the mountains classification for the climbers, combination classification for the all-round riders, the team classification for the competing teams. First held in 1935 and annually since 1955, the Vuelta runs for three weeks in a changing route across Spain; the inaugural event saw 50 entrants face a 3,411 km course over only 14 stages, averaging over 240 km per stage.
It was inspired by the success of the Tours in France and Italy, the boost they brought to the circulations of their sponsoring newspapers. It was held in the spring late April, with a few editions held in June in the 1940s. In 1995, the race moved to September to avoid direct competition with the Giro d'Italia, held in May; as a result, the Vuelta is now seen as an important preparation for the World Championships, which moved to October the same year. A Vuelta was organized in August and September 1950; the course includes up to three time trials, a number of mountain stages. Since 1994, before, the Vuelta finished in the Spanish capital, although Bilbao and San Sebastián were long both recurring finish cities. Behind Madrid, three cities share second place for the most Vuelta departures: Gijón, one time finish city Jerez de la Frontera. In 1997, the Vuelta started abroad in Lisbon, Portugal; the first Vuelta to start outside the Iberian Peninsula took place in 2009, when the Dutch city of Assen hosted the prologue of the 64th Vuelta.
In 1999, for the first time, the course crossed the Alto de L'Angliru in Asturias, which climbs 1,573 meters over 12.9 km with grades as steep as 23.6 percent, making it one of the steepest climbs in Europe. Credit for the discovery of this climb and its addition to the Vuelta goes to Miguel Prieto; the overall leader at present wears a red jersey, although it has been the "Maillot amarillo" and the "Jersey de Oro" — the Spanish counterpart to the yellow jersey of the Tour de France. Other jerseys honor leader of the points competition. Other cycling jerseys are awarded, such as for points leaders in the "Metas Volantes" and for the combination category; the record for most wins is held by Roberto Heras of Spain, winner in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005. Spaniards have dominated. France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Kazakhstan, the United States and Great Britain have had first-place finishers; the first races were run at the national level and were promoted by the bicycle manufacturers from Eibar.
The tour was Eibar – Madrid – Eibar, called the Grand Prix of the Republic. In the early 1935, former cyclist Clemente Lopez Doriga, in collaboration with Juan Pujol, director of the daily newspaper Informaciones, organized the Vuelta a España, with a distance 3431 km, in a total of 14 stages; the first stage took the riders from Madrid to Valladolid. That year saw the first great duel in the history of the Vuelta, between Belgium's Gustaaf Deloor, who won, Mariano Cañardo, Spanish runner-up; the second edition of the Vuelta held despite the delicate political situation, was marked by the Deeloor repeat, who this time held the lead from the first day to th
1964 Summer Olympics
The 1964 Summer Olympics known as the Games of the XVIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Tokyo, from 10 to 24 October 1964. Tokyo had been awarded the organization of the 1940 Summer Olympics, but this honour was subsequently passed to Helsinki because of Japan's invasion of China, before being cancelled because of World War II; the 1964 Summer Games were the first Olympics held in Asia, the first time South Africa was barred from taking part due to its apartheid system in sports. Tokyo was chosen as the host city during the 55th IOC Session in West Germany, on 26 May 1959; these games were the first to be telecast internationally without the need for tapes to be flown overseas, as they had been for the 1960 Olympics four years earlier. The games were telecast to the United States using Syncom 3, the first geostationary communication satellite, from there to Europe using Relay 1; these were the first Olympic Games to have color telecasts, albeit partially. Certain events like the sumo wrestling and judo matches, sports huge in Japan, were tried out using Toshiba's new colour transmission system, but only for the domestic market.
History surrounding the 1964 Olympics was chronicled in the 1965 documentary film Tokyo Olympiad, directed by Kon Ichikawa. The games were scheduled for mid-October to avoid the city's midsummer heat and humidity and the September typhoon season; the previous Olympics in Rome in 1960 experienced hot weather. The following games in 1968 in Mexico City began in October; the 1960's Olympics were the last to use a traditional cinder track for the track events. A smooth, all-weather track was used for the first time at the 1968 Olympics and at every Olympiad thereafter. Tokyo won the rights to the Games on 26 May 1959, at the 55th IOC Session in Munich, West Germany, over bids from Detroit and Vienna. Toronto was an early bidder again in 1964 after the failed attempt for 1960 and failed to make the final round. Yūji Koseki composed the theme song of the opening ceremony. Yoshinori Sakai, who lit the Olympic flame, was born in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, the day an atomic bomb was dropped on that city.
Kumi-daiko was first exhibited to a worldwide audience at the Festival of Arts presentation. Judo and volleyball, both popular sports in Japan, were introduced to the Olympics. Japan won gold medals in three judo events; the Japanese women's volleyball team won the gold medal, with the final being broadcast live. The women's pentathlon was introduced to the athletics events. Reigning world champion Osamu Watanabe capped off his career with a gold medal for Japan in freestyle wrestling, surrendering no points and retiring from competition as the only undefeated Olympic champion to date at 189–0. Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina won a silver medal and two bronze medals, she had held the record for most Olympic medals at 18 which stood until broken by American swimmer Michael Phelps in 2012. Czechoslovakian gymnast Věra Čáslavská wins three gold medals, including the individual all-around competition, crowning her the new queen over the reigning champion Larisa Latynina. Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser won the 100 m freestyle event for the third time in a row, a feat matched by Vyacheslav Ivanov in rowing's single scull event.
Don Schollander won four gold medals in swimming. Abebe Bikila became the first person to win the Olympic marathon twice. New Zealand's Peter Snell won a gold medal in both 1500 metre. American Billy Mills, an unfancied runner, won the gold in the men's 10,000 m. No American had won it before and or since. British runner Ann Packer set a world record in becoming the surprise winner of the 800 metre, having never run the distance at international level before the Games. Bob Hayes won the 100 metre title in a time of 10.0 seconds. He had run a wind-assisted 9.9 seconds in the semifinal, but this was not recognized as a world record. He won a Super Bowl ring as a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and was the second gold medalist elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Joe Frazier, future heavyweight champion of the world, won a gold medal in heavyweight boxing; this was the last Summer Olympics to use a cinder running track for athletic events, the first to use fiberglass poles for pole vaulting.
The nation of Malaysia, which had formed the previous year by a union of Malaya, British North Borneo and Singapore, competed for the first time in the Games. Zambia declared its independence on the day of the closing ceremony of the 1964 Summer Olympics, thereby becoming the first country to have entered an Olympic games as one country, left it as another; the start of operations for the first Japanese "bullet train" between Tokyo Station and Shin-Ōsaka Station was scheduled to coincide with the Olympic games. The first scheduled train ran on 1 October 1964, just nine days before the opening of the games, transporting passengers 515 kilometres or 320 miles in about four hours, connecting the three major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Osaka; the 1964 Summer Olympics featured 19 different sports encompassing 25 disciplines, medals were awarded in 163 events. In the list below, the number of events in each discipline is noted in parentheses. Note: In the Japan Olympic Committee report, sailing is listed as "yacht
Gent–Wevelgem Gent–Wevelgem – In Flanders Fields, is a road cycling race in Belgium, held annually since 1934. It one of the classic races part of the Flemish Cycling Week, run in late March on the last Sunday before the Tour of Flanders. Although the event is called a sprinters classic due to its flat finishing terrain, its early-season date means riders are tested by wind and rain, as well as several climbs, including two ascents of the steep and cobbled Kemmelberg; as a result, few editions of Gent–Wevelgem end in a bunch sprint – the winner comes from a small group of escapees. In 2005 the race was included in the inaugural UCI ProTour and in 2011 in its successor, the UCI World Tour. Since 2011 it is organized by Flanders Classics, which organizes the Tour of Flanders. Since 2012 a woman's event is held on the same day as the men's race. Six riders share the record of victories. Belgians Robert Van Eenaeme, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx and Tom Boonen, Italian Mario Cipollini and Slovak Peter Sagan each won the race three times.
Sagan achieved a record six podium finishes in the race. Created in 1934 and run by the newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen, the race’s finish town of Wevelgem was selected because it was the home town of the event’s first owner, local textile manufacturer Georges Matthijs, its origin is a tribute to Gaston Rebry, a native of Wevelgem, one of the stars of cycling in Belgium in the 1930s. The first edition was run on 9 September 1934 as an amateur race on a 120 km route; the race only was won by Gustave Van Belle. In 1936 the race distance was increased to 168 km and Robert Van Eenaeme was the first professional winner; the event had its only interruptions during World War II, was subsequently organized again as a professional event in 1945. Gaston Rebry, by president of bike club "Het Vliegend Wiel", was the new race director. Robert Van Eenaeme was declared winner of the first post-War edition ten days after the race was over, after officials had closer inspected the photo finish. In 1947 Gent -- Wevelgem gained prestige.
Organizer Rebry managed to line up Italian cycling icons Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, who attracted vast numbers of spectators to the race. In 1957 the race became part of the short-lived Trophy of Flanders, a two-day formula with the Omloop Het Volk, in which Gent–Wevelgem was raced on Saturday, the Omloop on Sunday. In the 1960s the race garnered international prestige. Belgian cycling legends Rik Van Eddy Merckx won the race three times; the race was in a constant search of identity and re-invention, as reflected in the regular route and calendar changes. In 1977 the distance was 277 km, the longest edition featuring eleven climbs in the Flemish Ardennes and a double ascent of the Kemmelberg; the arduous edition was won by Bernard Hinault. Since the 1980s the race has built a reputation as a sprinters' classic. Italian sprint star Mario Cipollini claimed three victories. Sean Kelly, Guido Bontempi, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov and Tom Steels are some of the other sprint specialists on the roll of honour.
In 2003, Gent -- Wevelgem moved to suburban Deinze. Tom Boonen claimed his first classic victory in 2004 proceeding to equal the winning record of three wins. For many decades, the race held a mid-week position between the Tour of Paris -- Roubaix. In 2011, the race was included in the UCI World Tour and returned to a Sunday date in the weekend between Milan–San Remo and the Tour of Flanders. Since 2015, the event is named Gent–Wevelgem – In Flanders Fields, after the iconic war poem by John McCrae. Organizers wanted to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, as the Westhoek region was at the heart of the war and is home to several Commonwealth war graves; the 2015 edition was won by Luca Paolini, but was memorable as it was run in abysmal weather, with strong winds scourging the peloton. Several riders were blown violently off their bikes, including Geraint Thomas when he was leading the breakaway group, prompting media to describe the race as "mayhem" and "one of the wildest bike races in recent years".
Only 39 riders finished the race. The 2016 edition was marred by the death of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitié, suffering fatal injuries from a crash and collision with a motor bike. Peter Sagan won the 2018 event, marking Sagan's third Gent–Wevelgem title and sixth podium finish, thereby becoming the most successful rider in the race's history. Unlike most of the Flemish spring classics, which centre around Oudenaarde and the plentiful hills in the Flemish Ardennes, Gent–Wevelgem travels west into West Flanders and Northern France and has fewer hills, providing it with a different character and making it more suitable for sprinters. In recent years the total distance of the race was around 250 km. Since 2004, the race starts in 15 kilometres southwest of Ghent. After the unofficial start on the city's Market Square, the route heads west, facing 100 kilometres through the wind-swept flatlands of West Flanders, up to and along the North Sea coast before turning south into the North department of France.
After 120 km comes the cobbled Kasselberg climb in Cassel, addressed twice in quick succession. After the Katsberg, the second hill in France, the race re-enters Belgium after 50 kilometres on French roads, to enter the key section of the race in Heuvelland; the hill zone in the south of West-Flanders holds three climbs, the Baneberg and Kemmelberg, covered within twelve kilometres of one another. This
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Omloop Het Volk, is a one-day road cycling race in Belgium, held annually in late February. It is the opening event of the Belgian cycling season, as well as the first race of the year in Northwestern Europe, holds significant prestige because of it. Since 2017, the race is part of cycling's top-tier professional events; the race starts and finishes in Ghent and covers the hills in the Flemish Ardennes, marking the start of the cobbled classics season in Europe. Due to its early calendar date, it is characterized by cold weather, coming as a contrast to the early-season stage races in the Middle East and Southern Europe; the day after the Omloop, Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne completes the opening weekend. Since 2006, a women's edition of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is held on the same day as the men's race and finishing in the same location 130 kilometres in distance. Both events are organized by Flanders Classics. First held in 1945, the race was called Omloop van Vlaanderen; the event was initiated by Flemish newspaper Het Volk, in response to rivaling newspaper Het Nieuwsblad’s classic, the Tour of Flanders.
Het Volk, of left-leaning publication, wanted to start a new cycling event in Flanders as a rival race to what it saw as the Tour of Flanders' closeness to the Nazis during World War II. The Ronde's organizers protested that the name was too close to their own – there is little semantic difference between "Ronde" and "Omloop"; the Belgian cycling federation demanded Het Volk to change the name of the event, prompting Het Volk to serve as title sponsor of their own race. In 2009 the former rival newspapers Het Volk and Het Nieuwsblad merged, causing the event to be renamed Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for its 64th edition; until 2016, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was ranked as a 1. HC event of the UCI Europe Tour. Due to its early-season calendar date, the race has been affected by cold and wintry conditions. Three editions of the event were cancelled; the 1971 race was run three weeks later. In 1986 and 2004 organizers were forced to cancel the race, as snow and freezing temperatures had made the route too dangerous and riders' safety could not be guaranteed.
In modern times, organizers rely on weather forecasts and adjust the course if some sectors are deemed unsafe. Unrelated to the weather, the 1960 race was cancelled following a disagreement between the organizers and cycling's ruling body UCI. Traditionally the opening event of the Belgian cycling season, the race holds particular importance for Belgian cyclists. Throughout its history, Belgian riders, comfortable with cold weather and aided by large, supportive crowds, have dominated the race. Belgians have won 56 editions, exemplary for the growing international status of the race, they have only won four of the last ten editions. In 1948 Italian cycling icon Fausto Coppi won the race, but was disqualified for receiving an illegal wheel-change; the record for wins is three, shared by Ernest Sterckx and Peter van Petegem. Bruyère holds the fastest average for his 1975 win. Other notable winners include Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Freddy Maertens, Johan Museeuw, Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad starts in Ghent, East Flanders, addresses the Flemish Ardennes in the south of the province, featuring numerous short climbs, before returning to Ghent. From 1996 until 2007 the finish was in Lokeren, 20 km east of Ghent. At 200 kilometres and with 13 climbs in the hill zone, the course is arduous. Additionally, there are several flat stretches of cobbles. Despite annual changes, some of the regular climbs in the Omloop are the Leberg, Taaienberg, Muur van Geraardsbergen and Molenberg. Due to its hilly course in the Flemish Ardennes, the race is similar in nature to the Tour of Flanders, is used in preparation for the bigger event five weeks later; the 2016 race featured one new climb, Boembekeberg, as a replacement for the Molenberg, skipped because of road works. This was reversed for the 2017 race. Both the official start and finish are traditionally on Sint-Pietersplein; every seven years however, when Easter comes early in the year, the square is booked for the annual Mid-Lent fair and organizers need to find different locations.
In 2016 and 2017, the Citadel city park, next to the Kuipke velodrome, served as start location. The finish was near the starting place; the following riders have won the race: Riders in italics are active Since 2006 there is a women's version of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Held on the same day as the men's event, it uses much of the same roads and opens the women's cycling season in Northern Europe. In recent editions the route is six sections of cobbles. Dutch rider Suzanne de Goede and Sweden's Emma Johansson have won the race twice. An edition of the race for under-23 men has been held since 1950. European Cycling - The 20 Greatest Races by Noel Henderson ISBN 0-941950-20-4. Official website
1953 Tour de France
The 1953 Tour de France was the 40th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 3 to 26 July. It consisted of 22 stages over 4,476 km; the race was won by the first of his three consecutive wins. At first, internal struggles in the French national team seemed to work against Bobet, but when the team joined forces, he beat regional rider Jean Malléjac in the mountains; the 1953 Tour de France saw the introduction of the points classification, which gives the green jersey to its leader. In 1953 this was won by Fritz Schär. Changes in the Tour formula were made: Only one time trial was used, instead of two the previous year. Since all these changes were bad for 1952's winner Fausto Coppi, who had gained significant time in 1952 in the time trials and mountain stages, the Tour organisation was accused of favoring French riders; as was the custom since the 1930 Tour de France, the 1953 Tour de France was contested by national and regional teams. Seven national teams were sent, with 10 cyclists each from Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France.
France additionally sent five regional teams from 10 cyclists each, divided into Ile de France, Center-North East France, South East France, West France and South West France. One Luxembourgian cyclist did not start, so 119 cyclists started the race; the winner of the previous edition, did not defend his title. The reasons were not clear: it could have been injury, but it was possible that Coppi did not want to ride in the same team as his rival Gino Bartali, or that the Tour direction urged the Italian team not to select Coppi because he had dominated the 1952 Tour, or that Coppi chose to prepare for the 1953 UCI Road World Championships; the big favourites became Louison Bobet. The last five editions had been won by Italian and Swiss cyclists, so the French cycling fans were anxious for a French win; when team manager Marcel Bidot had selected Bobet as the French team captain, controversy arose. Bobet had shown his potential strength, but had tried to win the Tour de France five times without succeeding.
His team-mate Raphaël Géminiani thought that Bobet was not strong enough, after he did not finish the 1953 Giro d'Italia earlier that year. The teams entering the race were: The 1953 Tour de France started on 3 July, had two rest days, in Bordeaux and Monaco. In the first two stages Fritz Schär won the sprint; the favourites remained calm. After the fourth stage, French Roger Hassenforder took the lead, but he soon lost it when the mountains appeared. Hassenforder was ill, could not follow in the mountains, so Schär took the lead back in the ninth stage. In the next stage, Hugo Koblet, the leader of the Swiss team and had to give up, making Schär the undisputed leader of the Swiss team. Jean Robic, the winner of the 1947 Tour de France, rode for the regional team from West France, he was in great shape, won the 11th stage, took the leading position in the general classification. In the next stage, Robic rode in the yellow jersey for the only time in his career. Robic had won the 1947 Tour de France, but only captured the lead in the ultimate stage, so he never wore the yellow jersey during that race.
Robic was a good climber. It is said that the manager of his team had arranged bidons filled with lead, that would be given to Robic on the top of the mountains; this helped Robic to keep his lead on the descent. Robic lost the yellow jersey in the next stage, after he crashed and the French national team attacked. A large group of twenty five cyclists, without any of the favourites, had stayed away. Robic's team did not lose the jersey however. In the next stage, the favourites attacked again. Mahé could not keep up, lost his leading position to his team-mate Jean Malléjac; the sprint was won by Nello Lauredi before his team-mate Bobet. Bobet was angry that Lauredi had won the sprint, because it made Bobet miss the one-minute time bonus for the winner of the stage. Bobet accused Lauredi and Géminiani of working against him, during dinner it came to a fight; the French team captain intervened, they found a solution: Bobet agreed to give his prize money to his team-mates, if they helped him win the Tour.
In that stage, Robic had fallen down, lost many minutes, so he was no longer considered able to win the Tour. He did not start the fourteenth stage. At that point, Bobet was 3 minutes 13 seconds behind Malléjac. In the eighteenth stage in the alps, Bobet followed Jesus Lorono. Bobet dropped him on the descend, went alone to the Col d'Izoard. There was a group of early attackers ahead, including Bobet's team-mate Deledda. Deledda waited for Bobet, helped him to reach the Izoard. Bobet could save his energy, when they reached the Izoard, he left Deledda behind; the tactics had worked, Bobet won more than 12 minutes on Malléjac and took the yellow jersey. He extended his lead by winning the time trial in stage 20, thereby showing that he was not only a good climber but a fine time trialist. At that point, the Dutch team was leading the team classification, the Dutch and French team started to work together to keep their leading positions in the general and team classification. For the finish in Paris, eleven former Tour de France winners were present: Maurice Garin, Gustave Garrigou, Philippe Thys, Lucien Buysse, André Leducq, Antonin Magne, Georges Speicher
Olaf Ludwig is a former German racing cyclist. His career began at the SG Dynamo Gera / Sportvereinigung Dynamo; as an East German, he raced as an amateur until reunification of Germany allowed him to become professional with Panasonic team. As a sprinter, the highlight of his career was winning the points classification in the 1990 Tour de France. Other highlights include the Olympic road race in Seoul in 1988, a record 38 stage victories in the Peace Race, winning the Amstel Gold Race in 1992, podium placings in the Paris–Roubaix, he won the 1992 UCI Road World Cup. His sprinting rivals included Wilfried Nelissen and Djamolidine Abdoujaparov. In 1993 he joined Team Telekom T-Mobile Team. On retirement in 1996 he took up public relations for the team, he subsequently became principal team manager, but his involvement with the team finished at the end of 2006. Olaf Ludwig: Höllenritt auf der Himmelsleiter. Etappen meines Lebens. Herausgegeben von Helmut Wengel. RhinoVerlag, Arnstadt & Weimar 1997, ISBN 3-932081-18-8
Ghent is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, the second largest municipality in Belgium, after Antwerp; the city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe, with some 50,000 people in 1300. It is a university city; the municipality comprises the city of Ghent proper and the surrounding suburbs of Afsnee, Drongen, Ledeberg, Mendonk, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Sint-Kruis-Winkel and Zwijnaarde. With 260,467 inhabitants in the beginning of 2018, Ghent is Belgium's second largest municipality by number of inhabitants; the metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,205 km2 and has a total population of 594,582 as of 1 January 2008, which ranks it as the fourth most populous in Belgium. The current mayor of Ghent, Mathias De Clercq is from the liberal & democratic party Open VLD.
The ten-day-long Ghent Festival is attended by about 1 -- 1.5 million visitors. Archaeological evidence shows human presence in the region of the confluence of Scheldt and Leie going back as far as the Stone Age and the Iron Age. Most historians believe that the older name for Ghent,'Ganda', is derived from the Celtic word ganda which means confluence. Other sources connect its name with an obscure deity named Gontia. There are no written records of the Roman period, but archaeological research confirms that the region of Ghent was further inhabited; when the Franks invaded the Roman territories from the end of the 4th century and well into the 5th century, they brought their language with them and Celtic and Latin were replaced by Old Dutch. Around 650, Saint Amand founded two abbeys in Ghent: Saint Bavo's Abbey; the city grew from the abbeys and a commercial centre. Around 800, Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, appointed Einhard, the biographer of Charlemagne, as abbot of both abbeys. In 851 and 879, the city was however plundered twice by the Vikings.
Within the protection of the County of Flanders, the city recovered and flourished from the 11th century, growing to become a small city-state. By the 13th century, Ghent was the biggest city in Europe north of the Alps after Paris. Within the city walls lived up to 65,000 people; the belfry and the towers of the Saint Bavo Cathedral and Saint Nicholas' Church are just a few examples of the skyline of the period. The rivers flowed in an area; these rich grass'meersen' were ideally suited for herding sheep, the wool of, used for making cloth. During the Middle Ages Ghent was the leading city for cloth; the wool industry established at Bruges, created the first European industrialized zone in Ghent in the High Middle Ages. The mercantile zone was so developed that wool had to be imported from Scotland and England; this was one of the reasons for Flanders' good relationship with England. Ghent was the birthplace of John of Duke of Lancaster. Trade with England suffered during the Hundred Years' War.
The city recovered in the 15th century, when Flanders was united with neighbouring provinces under the Dukes of Burgundy. High taxes led to a rebellion and the Battle of Gavere in 1453, in which Ghent suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of Philip the Good. Around this time the centre of political and social importance in the Low Countries started to shift from Flanders to Brabant, although Ghent continued to play an important role. With Bruges, the city led two revolts against Maximilian of Austria, the first monarch of the House of Habsburg to rule Flanders. In 1500, Juana of Castile gave birth to Charles V, who became Holy Roman King of Spain. Although native to Ghent, he punished the city after the 1539 Revolt of Ghent and obliged the city's nobles to walk in front of the Emperor barefoot with a noose around the neck. Saint Bavo Abbey was abolished, torn down, replaced with a fortress for Royal Spanish troops. Only a small portion of the abbey was spared demolition; the late 16th and the 17th centuries brought devastation because of the Eighty Years' War.
The war ended the role of Ghent as a centre of international importance. In 1745, the city was captured by French forces during the War of the Austrian Succession before being returned to the Empire of Austria under the House of Habsburg following the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, when this part of Flanders became known as the Austrian Netherlands until 1815, the exile of the French Emperor Napoleon I, the end of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and the peace treaties arrived at by the Congress of Vienna. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the textile industry flourished again in Ghent. Lieven Bauwens, having smuggled the industrial and factory machine plans out of England, introduced the first mechanical weaving machine on the European continent in 1800; the Treaty of Ghent, negotiated here and adopted on Christmas Eve 1814, formally ended the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States. After the Battle of Waterloo and Flanders ruled from the House of Habs