Ninove and Geraardsbergen launch petition to keep Ronde van Vlaanderen finish
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Ninove and Geraardsbergen launch petition to keep Ronde van Vlaanderen finish

by Ben Atkins at 7:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders
 
Towns at the end of current route want 15,000 signatures

fabian cancellaraThe Mayors of the towns of Ninove, Geraardsbergen and Galmaarden have launched a petition to persuade Flanders Classics, the organiser of the Ronde van Vlaanderen to leave the race’s finish as it is, according to Sporza. Merebeke, a suburb of Ninove, has hosted the Ronde’s finish on its Halsesteenweg since 1973, but with the current deal expiring after this year’s race the towns of Oudenaarde and Ronse have both applied to host the finish of Vlaanderens Mooiste.

"With the ‘Hallebaan’ we have a perfect finish,” said Michel Casteur, Moyor of Ninove, “a 500 metre-long wide road. Moreover, we have 38 years as a loyal partner of the Ronde van Vlaanderen."

Should the race finish switch to either Oudenaarde or Ronse the climbs on the way to the current finish, the Muur-Kapelmuur and the Bosberg, would become far less decisive; because of their positions in relation to the other Flemish bergs, they may even become incidental to the race, or be ignored by it altogether.

For this reason the Mayors of Geraardsbergen and Galmaarden have joined Nninove in the launching of the petition.

“The Ronde van Vlaanderen has been settled on the Muur many times,” said Freddy De Chou Mayor of Geraardsbergen, “here is where they strike the decisive blow.”

Cycling trades heavily on its traditions but a race like the Ronde van Vlaanderen has no hard and fast rules dictating its route, its start, or its finish. A parallel can be drawn with the Giro di Lombardia in Italy, whose start and finish has changed a number of times in recent decades.

From 1995 to 2003 the race finished in the Citta Alta of Bergamo, at the top of a steep, cobbled climb; when it switched to the lakeside town of Como in 2004 the style of the finish changed but not its character.

Unsurprisingly though, Galmaarden is not keen to lose the race, where the Bosberg has the distinction as the final climb of the race.

"We are but a small player in the whole, but on the Bosberg has often decided races,” said Pierre Deneyer, Mayor of Galmaarden. The Bosberg is something special, the crème fraiche of the Ronde."

The 95th edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen will take place this coming Sunday, it will be the 39th consecutive finish in Meerbeke; whether there will be a 40th will be decided in June.

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