After the Wall of Geraardsbergen was removed from the Tour of Flanders in 2012 the Eneco Tour adopted the climb. Since then Alessandro Ballan, Zdeněk Štybar, Greg Van Avermaet, Manuel Quinziato and Edvald Boasson-Hagen powered to victory on the steep cobbles. Last year, the BinckBank Tour succeeded the Eneco Tour and honoured the tradition with exactly the same finish on the Vesten, which is halfway up the Wall. Jasper Stuyven powered to victory, while Tom Dumoulin won the GC.
Following the start at Lacs de Eau d’Heure – or Eau d’Heure lakes, a complex of five artificial lakes – the route begins with a local round of 11.8 kilometres, featuring two sharp climbs. Once the flag is dropped the riders hit the Pré-Barrage du Falemprise (400 metres at 9%) before continuing to the Pré-Barrage du Ry-Jaune (500 metres at 10%). The lap in between the lakes is raced twice.
The BinckBank Tour then sets sail to the closing circuit around Geraardsbergen. Passing west of Charleroi, the route moves through Beaumont, Sartiau and Binche. Meanwhile, hill number five is crested – 700 metres at 6%.
At kilometre 125.5 the riders get a first taste of the finish line before the race concludes with three laps of 25.6 kilometres. Each run takes in climbs up the Wall of Geraardsbergen (1,100 metres at 8.7%, cobbled), Bosberg (1,000 metres at 6%, last 400 metres cobbled), Onkerzelestraat (1,500 metres at 3%), and Denderoordberg (700 metres at 8%).
Following the last passage over the Denderooststraat 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 though Geraardsbergen, which is 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 go up at 5%.
Starting at kilometre 188.7, the Golden Kilometre offers three opportunities to win time bonuses of 3, 2 and 1 seconds within 1,000 metres. The first three riders on the line take 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
The 7th stage of the BinckBank Tour starts at 11:38 and the finish is expected around 16:20 – both local times.
BinckBank Tour 2018 stage 7: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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