The Tour of Flanders sets off from Bruges this time and the riders get a first taste of cobbles after 109 kilometres. The pavé on the Huisepontweg precedes the first climb of the day, Korte Ast. Some 20 kilometres later the Oude Kwaremont makes its first appearance. By now, the riders are halfway.
After Oude Kwaremont De Ronde intensifies with a new obstacle every 10 kilometres or so. Via climbs up the Kortekeer and the Achterberg the route continues to the cobbles of the Holleweg and onto Wolvenberg. Kerkgate and Jagerij throw in more cobbles before a quartet of ‘hellingen – Molenberg, Marlboroughstraat, Berendries, Valkenberg – are all crammed together within 15 kilometres.
A relatively calm phase – with only Berg Ten Houte and Kanarieberg – now precedes the brutal finale.
The Tour of Flanders is on fire once the riders tackle the Oude Kwaremont/Paterberg combo for the first time. And on it goes to the Koppenberg, the cobbles of the Mariaborrestraat, Steenbeekdries and Taaienberg in rapid succession. To be precise, within 10 kilometres.
With 30 kilometres left the riders tackle the Kruisberg/Hotond before the Oude Kwaremont makes its last appearance inside the final 20 kilometres. The cobbled climb is 2,200 metres long and averages 4%, while the Paterberg is quite the opposite. Only 360 metres long, but definitely a killer with its average gradient of 12.9% and steepest ramp of 20.3%. This is a perfect spot to drop your rivals if you prefer to arrive solo in Oudenaarde.
Which is exactly what Tadej Pogacar tried to do last year. He dropped his opponents, yet one of them hung on. Mathieu van der Poel. The two reached the top almost half a minute ahead of the first chasers, Valentin Madouas and Dylan van Baarle. Those two kept on chasing and while Pogacar was sitting in the wheels of Van der Poel until 200 metres before the line, the two overhauled them. Van der Poel opened his sprint at that exact moment and Pogacar was boxed in. Van der Poel took the win, while Van Baarle and Madouas rounded out the podium.
Ride the route yourself? Download GPX Tour of Flanders 2023.
The Tour of Flanders starts at 10:00 and the race is expected to finish around 16:45 – both are local times (CEST).
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Tour of Flanders 2023: route, profiles, more
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