Dramatic changes for the 2010 Ronde van Vlaanderen
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Dramatic changes for the 2010 Ronde van Vlaanderen

by Bjorn Haake at 5:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders
 

The next Ronde van Vlaanderen will take place on Sunday, April 4, over 255 kilometers and 15 climbs. The route announcement has quite a few surprises, such as the removal of the  Eikenmolen, springboard for Stijn Devolder's victories in the last two years. The Paddestraat, one of the worst sections of cobbles, is also gone, wheras the Molenberg has been moved.

The Ronde will go back to its more traditional routing, first heading south (this time over the seaside town of Oostende) and then east before hitting the first climb of Den Ast. There won't be a long eastern loop via Gent like last year. The peloton will ride 124 flat kilometers before hitting that first climb. Den Ast isn't the most threatening at some 25 meters of altitude gain over 450 meters.

The Kluisberg - Knokteberg - Oude-Kwaremont - Paterberg - Koppenberg combination will bring back the early breaks and soften the legs a bit. Noticeable is the absence of the Molenberg in the early part of the race. It is climb number ten this year and its bad cobbles and steep gradient will ensure the riders feel it more in their legs than in years past, when it was just a warm-up.

In fact from the Molenberg, there are only a few easy ones left before the tough finale. The Leberg and Berendries are steep, but paved. The Tenbosse is fairly easy.

With 16 kilometers to go, the Muur - Kappelmuur will most likely bring the decision, unless somebody can manage to keep the front together towards the 15th and final climb of the Bosberg.

From there it's 12 flat, but potentially windy kilometers back to the finish line in Ninove of "Vlaanderens mooiste" (Flanders' nicest).

Dorp van de Ronde

Desselgem is the "Dorp van de Ronde" next year. The village of the race will host some special activities. Each year, the location changes, and form 2010, the organizers chose to honor Briek Schotte. Schotte, who is from the area, passed away in 2004. He won the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 1942 and 1948.

People who plan to visit for this exciting race should plan to spend the night at one of the rentable apartments directly at the Koppenberg and not forget to visit the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen, a museum in Oudenaarde dedicated to the cycling history of the region.

Anybody who is really cool could also just ride the whole route the day before the pro race, at the event for "Wielertoeristen en Mountainbikers". People not up for the 255 can choose shorter routes, opting to do all or only some of the 15 climbs.

The climbs in the 2010 Ronde van Vlaanderen, with kilometers (first number in parentheses is length of climb):

1 Den Ast km124 (450m - avg 5.7%)
2 Kluisberg km157 (1800m - avg 6.3% - max 14%)
3 Knokteberg km165 (1100m - avg 8% - max 13%)
4 Oude-Kwaremont km172 (2200m - avg 4% - max 11,6% - 1500m cobbles )
5 Paterberg km175 ( 360m - avg 12,9% - max 20,3% - 360m cobbles)
6 Koppenberg km182 (600m - avg 11,6 % - max 22 % - 600m cobbles)
7 Steenbeekdries km187 (700m - avg 5,3% - max 6,7% - 700m cobbles)
8 Taaienberg km190 (530m - avg 6,6% - max 15.8% - 520m cobbles)
9 Eikenberg km195 (1100m - avg 6,2% - max 10% - 1000m cobbles)
10 Molenberg km210 (463m - avg 7% - max 14,2% - 300m cobbles)
11 Leberg km217 (950m - avg 4,2% - max 13,8% )
12 Berendries km222 (940m - avg 7% - max 12,3%)
13 Tenbosse km229 (450m - avg 6,9% - max 8,7%)
14 Muur - Kapelmuur km239 (475m - avg 9,3% - max 19.8% - 475m cobbles)
15 Bosberg km243 (980m - avg 5,8% - max 11% - 400m cobbles)

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