After leaving the Grote Markt in Brugge the 100th Tour of Flanders heads for Torhout, the birthplace of Karel Van Wijnendaele, the spiritual father of the race. At Sunday, May 25, 1913 he said to the 37 riders at the start in the very first edition: “Gentlemen, you may leave.” It marked the birth of Flanders Finest.
Via Roeselare the riders head for Tielt, where they pay tribute to resident Roger Decock, who won the Tour of Flanders in 1952 and is the oldest living winner of the race. Then it’s off to the first hurdle of the day, the 1.6 kilometre stretch of pavé at the Huisepontweg.
After 103 kilometres in the saddle, the 2.2 kilometres cobbled climb up Oude Kwaremont is the first uphill section. All in all, the climb at an average grade of 4% and a steepest sector at 11.6% will be tackled three times. From the first passage onwards the riders start navigating the Flemish Ardennes from one cobbled sector to yet another steep slope. Usually there is about 5 kilometres in between the obstacles, sometimes slightly more.
With 200 kilometres done the second climb up Oude Kwaremont brings the Paterberg in its wake. This cobbled duo will be back in the finale’s finale as they are the last two climbs in the 2016 Tour of Flanders. At 369 metres Paterberg may be short, but it definitely is a killer with an average grade at 12.9% and a toughest sector accounting for 20.3%.
Shortly after Paterberg’s first passage the gate to the finale is marked by Koppenberg (600 metres, 11.6% on average, 22% max), crested with 44 kilometres left. Successively, climbs up Steenbeekdries (700 metres, 5.3% on average, 6.7% max), Taaienberg (500 metres, 6.6% on average, 15.8% max) and Kruisberg (2.5 kilometres, 5% on overage, 9% max) takes the riders to the aforementioned cobbled duo: Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg.
Last year the race exploded at Kruisberg after an attack by Niki Terpstra. Alexander Kristoff joined him and after cresting Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg in perfect harmony, the Norwegian outsprinted the Dutchman on the line.
Race results/race report Tour of Flanders 2016.
Tour of Flanders 2016: Route maps, height profiles, etc.
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