Tour of Flanders route tweaked but not radically changed for 2015

The start of the 2014 Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Watson)

The 2015 Tour of Flanders on April 5 will follow the same 2014 formula, tweaking only the start with two added climbs and relying on the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg in the final of the Belgian monument.

"The [2014] course, worked out to the last detail, made the race unforgettable," read a statement from organiser Flanders Classics on Tuesday.

"The long flat sections of the last 100 kilometres were taken out. In the last 150 kilometres, there was a maximum of 12 kilometres between the various stretches of cobblestones and hills, which made the going more difficult."

Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) rode clear with locals - Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). Only Vandenbergh attacked, the others held fire for the sprint that Cancellara won for his third 'Ronde' title.

The organiser hopes for more of the same magic with the final 150 kilometres the same as its 2014 edition. It includes the narrow and steep Koppenberg, which acts as the first page in Flanders' final chapter. The climbs or 'helling' over the next and final 45 kilometres include the Steenbeekdries (at 39km remaining), the Taaienberg (37km), the Kruisberg (28km), the Oude Kwaremont (17km) and the Paterberg (13km).

Greg van Avermaet Tour of Flanders 2014

Greg van Avermaet in the 2014 Tour of Flanders

(Image credit: Watson)

Greg Van Avermaet during the 2014 Tour of Flanders

Following the Paterberg, the riders will face a fast descent and technical roads with several turns before a 1.3-kilometre straight into Oudenaarde. Further down the canal into town, sits the Tour of Flanders museum.

The organiser changed the first 100 kilometres after the start in medieval Bruges. With two climbs added, the Tiegemberg and Berendries, the total reaches 19 for 2015. The Tiegenberg opens the show being the first of 19 at kilometre 87 and the Berendries marks the eighth climb of the day.

The early climbs will ensure a breakaway stays clear and gains time, but not much else is expected to happen until the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg climbs in the penultimate circuit of the race. The organiser routed the race around Oudenaarde in 2012 years ago so that it passes the two climbs multiple times, doing so it erected bigger hospitality tents and drew in more paying fans.

Though the long flats of 2013 are gone, questions remain. The 2015 route with numerous climbs drew criticism from Omega Pharma team boss, Patrick Lefevere.

"Cycling is a TV sport and is beautiful to look at," Lefevere told Belgium's Het Nieuwsblad newspaper. "But if it gets boring because the riders don't attack, then that has to do with the difficult nature of the course."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.