Koppenberg takes centre stage in 2014 Ronde van Vlaanderen route
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Koppenberg takes centre stage in 2014 Ronde van Vlaanderen route

by Ben Atkins at 9:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders
Legendary climb comes with just 45km to go; Paterberg still final slope in Vlaanderens Mooiste

fabian cancellaraFlanders Classics, the organiser of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, has presented a much-changed route for the 2014 edition of the Classic Monument, to be run on April 6th. Still featuring multiple climbs of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, as it has done for the last two editions, the 259km course of Vlaanderens Mooiste nevertheless moves away from the shrinking circuit format of those two editions.

The race will start in Brugge (Bruges) as it has done since 1998, and finish in Oudenaarde for the third straight year.

Rather than the decreasing circles of the three laps, based on the Kwaremont and Paterberg, the race will feature a far more winding parcours, more akin to the Rondes of old. The final phase of the race will be ushered in by the super-steep Koppenberg - coming quickly after the first of the Kwaremont-Paterberg doubles with just 45km to go - which will be followed by five more of the region’s toughest cobbled climbs.

Shortly after the Koppenberg, the peloton will climb the Steenbeekdries - towards the end of the long Mariaborrestraat cobbles - whose descent is more technical than the climb is tough. From there, the course will climb the steep, cobbled Taaienberg and the cobbled Oudestraat Kruisberg, before hitting the Oude Kwaremont for the final time. The final climb will be that of the Paterberg, before the same 13km descent and flat, Schelde-side dash to the finish as the last two years.

Since moving the finish to Oudenaarde in 2012, the Ronde van Vlaanderen route has been criticised by some, who have said that the super-tough finale to its parcours lost much of the race’s subtlety. While the new parcours is equally as tough as the previous two years, with the abandonment of the circuit-based finale, it strikes more of a compromise between the old and new, and should offer more of the contest between brain and brawn that has marked the race in its 101-year history.

Although it only features twice as a pair with the Paterberg, the Oude Kwaremont will be scaled three times by the race for the third straight year, although the first time up the 1.6km cobbled slope will be after just 109km as the first climb of the race. This will be followed by the Kortekeer - a steep, but little used asphalt ascent that has been called upon as an alternative to the Koppenberg in previous years - before returning to the cobblestones and the Eikenberg.

Following the Ruiterstraat cobbles, the peloton will climb the steep asphalted Wolvenberg, followed by the Kerkgate and Holloweg cobbles and the cobbled Molenberg. The long, cobbled Paddestraat and Haaghoek then follow, with the asphalt Leberg, Valkenberg, Kaperij and Kanarieberg leading to the foot of the Oude Kwaremont for the face’s final phase.

The women’s version of the Ronde van Vlaanderen will be run on the same day as the men’s WorldTour race as usual, as the third event of the road World Cup, but the course has yet to be announced.

Ronde van Vlaanderen (WT) 259km, April 6th, 2014

Hellingen (Hills)
1. Oude Kwaremont (cobbled) 109km
2. Kortekeer (asphalt) 119km
3. Eikenberg (cobbled) 127km
4. Wolvenberg (asphalt) 130km
5. Molenberg (cobbled)142km
6. Leberg (asphalt) 163km
7. Valkenberg (asphalt) 171km
8. Kaperij (asphalt) 181km
9. Kanarieberg (asphalt) 189km
10. Oude Kwaremont (cobbled) 205km
11. Paterberg (cobbled) 208km
12. Koppenberg (cobbled) 215km
13. Steenbeekdries (cobbled) 220km
14. Taaienberg (cobbled) 222km
15. Kruisberg (Oudestraat) (cobbled) 233km
16. Oude Kwaremont (cobbled) 243km
17. Paterberg (cobbled) 246km

Kasseien (Cobbles)
1. Ruiterstraat 130km
2. Kerkgate 133km
3. Holloweg 136km
4. Paddestraat 147km
5. Haaghoek 160km
6. Mariaborrestraat 219km


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