Cycling for RA Liga: When a simple button becomes a torment

On a normal Saturday, the race circuit in Zolder welcomes petrolheads who come to race shiny race cars – or marvel at others racing theirs. Last Saturday, no roaring engines or screeching race tires on the track, but the sound of a large peloton of bicycles zooming by the paddocks. Together, our Galapagos colleagues rode 1316 km in 12 hours to support RA Liga. A report of a scorching hot yet beatiful day to show our commitment to people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Written by Werner Borremans, Commercial Manager Belux

A simple button symbolizing patients’ complex struggle

Before hitting full throttle on the racing track, let me first introduce you to RA Liga. They are a Flemish patient association for people living with rheumatoid arthritis, often shortened to ‘RA’. Together with healthcare providers and academics, RA Liga shares information and knowledge, making it easier for patients to take control of their own healthcare process and life. Learn more about the RA Liga on their website (Dutch).

In RA, a person’s immune system attacks healthy cells, causing painful swelling in affected parts of the body, primarily in the joints. It can cause tissue damage resulting in chronic pain, unsteadiness, and physical disability.1 Symptoms of RA can include pain, stiffness and swelling in more than one joint, fatigue and (muscle) weakness.1 You can find more information about Galapagos’ commitment to RA here.

Because of the potential impact of RA on one’s joints, RA Liga chose an oRAnge button as their logo, with the following tagline: when a simple button becomes a torment.

The RA Liga cycling shirt with the orange button, symbolizing the struggle of people living with RA
Pedalling for patients: a report from the racetrack

For the second year in a row, RA Liga participated in a 12-hour bike event on the well-known racing circuit in Zolder (Belgium), raising awareness for rheumatoid arthritis and people living with this inflammatory disease. It is Galapagos’ ambition to pioneer for patients, aiming to improve the quality of life for RA patients and those close to them. So, we decided to join the RA Liga peloton again too this year.

When you arrive at the circuit, you are entering a new world. The impressive paddocks, the many colourful advertising banners, the large parking spaces for the race trucks, the windy chicanes and the impressive kerbstones: the place just oozes a racing atmosphere. Yet, this day was not just about racing. It was about underlining our commitment to people living with RA.

At 10:00, the flag dropped, and the peloton shot away at an average speed of 45 km/h. The race did not stop for 12 hours, until the final lap at 22:00. The participants tried to ride the furthest possible distance with a team of 6 cyclists, or individually. During the race, teams can swap with teammates who are out on the track as many times as they want, but only in the paddock. Hundreds of cyclists gave it their all, fired up by the many supporters along the circuit.

Galapagos had 4 teams pedalling for patients in scorching hot weather. Together, they rode 1316 kilometres for the good cause, an impressive figure. Thank you to the RA Liga, the many volunteers, the supporters, the other participants and our sporty colleagues for a great day. We wore our RA Liga cycling shirts – including the Galapagos logo – with pride. See you next year?

About Werner

""Hi, I’m Werner. I have been working in the healthcare sector for over X years. I joined Galapagos in 2019 as Commercial Manager for Belgium and Luxembourg. Together with my team, I try to bring value to healthcare professionals and through them, to their patients. That’s how I am #PioneeringForPatients.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Available at: Accessed December 2021.