Last year, the Dutch flyer countered a Vincenzo Nibali attack on the Kruisberg, with some 28 kilometres to go. He caught the front group on the Oude Kwaremont before he continued solo to win the race ahead of young Mads Pedersen and Philippe Gilbert.
The 2019 Tour of Flanders starts and the riders get a first taste of cobbles after 80 kilometres on the Lippenhovenstraat and Paddestraat. Yet the first half of the race is nothing special and at kilometre 120 the cobbled climb up Oude Kwaremont makes its first appearance. The route continues to the Kortekeer, Ladeuze and Wolvenberg before the pavé of the Holleweg and Haaghoek gives way to climbs up the Leberg, Berendries and Ten Bosse. Then, with 170 kilometres done, the Flemish cycling fans are treated when the Tour of Flanders hits their beloved Wall of Geraardsbergen. The cobbled climb of slightly more than 1 kilometre has a legendary status in De Ronde. Its 20% gradients lead up to the iconic chapel on the top.
Following the infamous Wall the Flemings have some time to control their emotions as it takes almost 30 kilometres before the riders tackle the Kanarieberg before the second climb up the Oude Kwaremont brings the Paterberg in its wake. This cobbled duo will be back in the finale.
With the first Oude Kwaremont-Paterberg combo the race enters an exciting phase. Shortly the Koppenberg appears, and on it goes over the pavé of the Mariaborrestraat to the Steenbeekdries and Taaienberg. With 25 kilometres left the route travels over the Kruisberg/Hotond and following 10 kilometres on the flat the Oude Kwaremont makes its last appearance.
The cobbled climb is 2.2 kilometres at 4% and is crested with 16.7 kilometres to go. Then comes the Paterberg, only 360 metres long but definitely a killer with its average gradient of 12.9% and a steepest ramp of 20.3%. At the top the Tour of Flanders has shrunken to 13.3 kilometres on the flat.
Tour of Flanders 2019: route, profiles, more
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Muur van Geraardsbergen interactive
streetview Muur van Geraardsbergen
Muur van Geraardsbergen at strava