Flanders Preview: The Route
Sunday, April 6, 2003 will be the 87th running of the Tour of Flanders, or as the Belgians like to say… “de Ronde van Vlaanderen”. It’s a 255 km jaunt through the Belgian country side, crossing through 4 provinces or regions, and should take about 6+ hours to run. The first 90 km are pretty flat, after that the riders climb over 19 “bergs” that really shape the race and give it character (see those blue triangles on the map below).
The climbs are the defining feature of this route, and with names like Molenberg, Wolvenberg, Oude-Kwaremont, and The Bosberg, how could you not feel a little nervous? Most of the them are cobbled and steep, with grades from 6% – 22%, a lot more of the latter! The fans pack the climbs, and this being Belgium, you are never far from a pub serving up a fine selection of brews and ales, to wash down to double fried pomme frites and mayonnaise.
See, just like we said, the first 90 km are pretty flat, while the last 90km contain those nasty “bergs” to bust yer legs and bruise yer ego. We recommend positioning yourself in the midst of several riders for the best chance of not being recognized and ridiculed by the rabid fans as you walk your bike up the slippery cobbled climbs.
You can see stats on the individual climbs at the official Ronde website here:
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