2010 Flanders presented, Devolder disappointed
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

2010 Flanders presented, Devolder disappointed

by Ben Atkins at 10:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders

The route of the 2010 Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) was presented in Gent, Belgium yesterday. This year’s race will cover 262km, climbing 15 hills, between Brugge (Bruges) and Meerbeke.

As is usual the opening kilometres differ from last year; this time the race will head north to the coast, passing through the port of Oostende before turning inland once more. The southerly route will take in Johan Museeuw’s hometown of Gistel, Torhout, Hooglede – the venue of the 2007 Cyclocross World Championships – and Roeselare before turning east through Kortrijk as it heads towards the hills of the Flemish Ardennes.

At kilometre 131 the first of the hills appears as Den Ast returns to the race for the first time since 2000; then after a gap of 34km the familiar Kluisberg/Knokteberg combination will get the real climbing – and the race proper – started. The next 40km will see the familiar sequence of cobbled climbs, featuring monsters like the Paterberg and Koppenberg. After the Eikenberg the race will take a different road to normal, and instead heads towards a climb that usually features in the earlier stages of the race: the Molenberg.

After the steep cobbled slopes of the Molenberg, the course will resume its familiar pattern with the Leberg, Berendries and Tenbosse. The Valkenberg is missed for the first time since its reintroduction in 2005.

The race will also miss out the Eikenmolen – a climb brought in for the first time in 2007 – and take what was the usual route through Parike between Brakel and Geraardsbergen before hitting the famous Muur-Kapelmuur and the Bosberg on the way to the finish.

Devolder unimpressed with Eikenmolen snub but still wants to win

Winner of the two previous editions, Stijn Devolder of Quick Step, is disappointed with the omission of the Eikenmolen, the hill where he launched his decisive attack in both of his victories.

"I do not understand why the slope is out,” he told Sporza. “In the three editions that we rode it, it was an important moment. Probably it has to do with the number of kilometres.”

The race may well miss out the extra loops required to tackle both the Valkenberg and the Eikenmolen in favour of the distance it takes to squeeze the Molenberg into its new position.

Devolder is still determined to emulate the great Fiorenzo Magni (1949-51) and win a third successive race.

“I [want to] of course,” said the 2007 Belgian champion, “but it wont be easy. The more you win, the less chance you have to repeat."

Devolder may not be keen on the omission of the Eikenmolen, but he finds the new position of the Molenberg interesting. "It is different,” he thinks. "You already have some shifting at the back. The pack will be much smaller."

"But it seems to me much too far from the finish in Meerbeke for you to attack. We immediately descend onto the cobbled area in Haaghoek before we take on the Leberg and Berendries."

"The course really inviting though,” he concluded. “Around the of 200km mark, after the Eikenberg, you get a lot of cobbles and places where you can try something."

Climbs of the 2010 Ronde van Vlaanderen:
Den Ast
Oude Kwaremont


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