Peter Sagan wins 2016 Tour of FlandersWhere: Belgium
When: Sunday April 1 2018
Rank: UCI WorldTour

The Tour of Flanders is always special, with it’s history stretching over 100 editions, it’s a true Monument of the cycling calendar. The 2018 edition of the race takes place on Sunday April 1.

It’s the race’s rich history that helps make it such a prestigious event. The list of previous winners is full of the great Classics riders, from Rik van Looy, Roger De Vlaeminck and Eddy Merckx to contemporary greats Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen.

At the same time, no rider has ever won here more than three times, illustrating just how difficult a race it is to triumph in. Victory here is never simply a matter of being the strongest rider, but requires a perfect cocktail of tactics, team support and luck, as well as strength.

Any race ridden over cobblestones is a challenge, but the Tour of Flanders is arguably the toughest of all. The riders face a total of eighteen cobbled climbs, each of them notorious not just for their difficulty, but for the many years of history they have observed since the first edition of the Ronde back in 1913.

Most famous of all is perhaps the Koppenberg, an absurdly difficult climb that, thanks to its maximum gradient of 22 per cent and uneven cobbles, often forces riders to hop off their bike and walk up sections of it.

Since the reimagining of the route in 2012 (when the much-loved Muur Van Geraardsbergen was removed), the Koppenberg has also been pushed back to around just 45km from the finish to play a more decisive part in how the race unfolds.

But it’s the one-two punch of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg that are the most crucial. They are both climbed in succession shortly prior to the Koppenberg, the former punishingly long and the latter punishingly steep. But it’s the last time over each, at 16.7km and 13.2km from the finish, that will be the real moment of truth of the favourites.

That said, Flanders never plays out in a straightforward manner, and the contenders will have to be alert to what is likely to be many attacks made before these final ascents.

Tour of Flanders 2017 results

Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step Floors) won the 2017 edition of the race, after attacking on the Oude Kwaremont 55km from the finish and holding off the chasing riders.

1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, in 6-23-45
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, at 28s
3. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors)
4. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac, all same time
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin, at 52s
6. Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
7. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
8. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Wilier Triestina
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie
10. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Merida, all same time

Climbs of the 2017 Tour of Flanders

Distance from start/climb/climb length

0km Start in Burcht
115km Oude Kwaremont, 2.2km
125.5km Kortekeer, 1km
133.2km Eikenberg, 1.2km
136.3km Wolvenberg, 0.64km
145.1km Leberg, 0.95km
149.2km Berendries, 0.94km
154.2km Tenbosse, 0.45km
164.5km Muur/Kapelmuur, 0.74km
183.2km Pottelberg, 1.35km
189km Kanarieberg, 1km
204.9km Oude Kwaremont, 2.2km
208.3km Paterberg, 0.36km
214.9km Koppenberg, 0.7km
220.3km Steenbeekdries, 0.7km
222.8km Taaienberg, 0.53km
233km Kruisberg, 2.5km
242.8km Oude Kwaremont, 2.2km
246.3km Paterberg, 0.36km
260.8km Finish in Oudenaarde

Key info: Start list | Live TV guide

Key riders: Alexander Kristoff | Greg Van Avermaet | Tom Boonen | Peter Sagan 

Previous editions: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

Official website | Official Twitter feed

After saying farewell at this year's edition of Paris-Roubaix, we take a look at Tommeke's illustrious career through photos