Muur van Geraardsbergen returns to spring line-up, but not where you think

The iconic cobbled climb will appear in the 2016 edition of the Three Days of De Panne for the first time

Eneco Tour
(Image credit: Watson)

The Muur van Geraardsbergen is set to be included in the route of the Three Days of De Panne for the first time this year, which coincides with the 40th edition of the early season race.

The Muur, which was a decisive part of the Tour of Flanders for years before the finish was moved from Meerbeke to Oudenaarde in 2012, will by climbed twice on the opening stage of the Three Days.

The first stage of the 2016 Driedaagse de Panne will make its winding way through Flandrien Classics country on the first stage, including a passge through the new Tour of Flanders finish city.

>>> The Koppenberg and the defining cobbles, bergs and climbs of the Belgian Classics

The finishing circuit will take in two ascents of the Muur van Geraardsbergen, which will surely make the selections and influence who pulls on the first leader's jersey, as was its function in De Ronde.

King Kelly talks cobbles

Day two is another road stage, this time finishing in De Panne where the opening stage started. The final day takes the traditional shape of a split stage between a morning road race and an afternoon individual time trial.

"For the first time in our existence, and on our 40th anniversary edition, we will do the mythical ascent of the Muur de Geraardsbergen," race director Jurgen Van de Walle told Het Nieuwsblad.

Alexander Kristoff won the overall in 2015 before dominating the Tour of Flanders a few days later. The Norwegian will be looking to emulate this double in 2016, particularly after his Katusha team was cleared to keep racing.

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Jack Elton-Walters hails from the Isle of Wight, and would be quick to tell anyone that it's his favourite place to ride. He has covered a varied range of topics for Cycling Weekly, producing articles focusing on tech, professional racing and cycling culture. He moved on to work for Cyclist Magazine in 2017 where he stayed for four years until going freelance. He now returns to Cycling Weekly from time-to-time to cover racing, review cycling gear and write longer features for print and online.