Benelux Tour 2021 stage 7: Namen - Geraardsbergen
Sunday 5 September - At 178.9 kilometres, the riders tackle nine climbs before finishing halfway up the Wall of Geraardsbergen. The last stage is The Benelux Tour's take on the Tour of Flanders.
After the Tour of Flanders removed the Wall of Geraardsbergen from its finale in 2012 the predecessors of the Benelux Tour adopted the climb. Since then Alessandro Ballan, Zdeněk Štybar, Greg Van Avermaet, Manuel Quinziato, Edvald Boasson-Hagen, Jasper Stuyven, Michael Matthews, Oliver Naesen, and Mathieu van der Poel powered to victory on the steep cobbles. The finish is not near the chapel at the top though, but on the Vesten, which is halfway up the Wall.
Van der Poel’s victory last year was all the more impressive, as he crowned a 50 kilometres solo with the stage win plus the overall victory.
The riders clip into their pedals in Namur, Wallonia, to set sail for the finishing circuit around Geraardsbergen, which is where all the uphill action is located. They reach the finish line for the first time after 106 kilometres of action.
Three 24.9 kilometres laps round out the route. Each run takes in the ascents of the Wall of Geraardsbergen (1.2 kilometres at 7.8%, cobbled), Bosberg (1 kilometre metres at 6%, last 400 metres cobbled), Onkerzelestraat (1.5 kilometres at 3%), and Denderoordberg (700 metres at 8%).
Following the last passage over the Denderoordstraat there are 5.4 kilometres left to race. A flat section leads to a gradual descent of 2 kilometres before a flat run-in of 1.5 kilometres moves through Geraardsbergen – which is, by the way, one of the oldest cities in Belgium. The route crosses the Dender River and shortly the riders hit the foot of the Wall of Geraardsbergen. The last 500 metres rise at 5% to the line.
Starting 21.3 kilometres before the finish, the Golden Kilometre serves three opportunities to win time bonuses of 3, 2 and 1 seconds within 1,000 metres. The first three riders on the line gain 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
Another interesting read: final GC and results 7th stage 2021 Benelux Tour.
Benelux Tour 2021 – stage 7: routes, profiles, more
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