Classics contenders will congregate in the historic city of Bruges this weekend for the 94th Tour of Flanders.
Thanks to a change in the calendar for Ghent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders now occupies a unique spot midway through the cobbled Classics season.
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A total of 262km and 15 cobbled climbs face the riders on the journey around Flanders to the finish in Ninove. From the start in Bruge, the route skirts the coast before heading into deepest Flanders, tackling some of the region’s toughest bergs along the way.
The first climb comes after 131km at Den Ast, but with the Oude-Kwaremont kicking off the serious climbs at 179km.
From there, the cobbled bergs come in quick session, with the iconic Koppenberg, Eikenberg, Molenberg, the Muur and finally the Bosberg all dispatched in around 60km.
Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara, Philippe Gilbert and Filippo Pozzato are all obvious favourites for this weekend’s Ronde, but all eyes will surely be on Boonen’s own team-mate, Stijn Devolder.
For two years in succession Devolder has planned his entire season around Flanders and has relied on the element of surprise to launch a race-winning attack: surely they won’t let him go a third time?
Tour of Flanders 2010: Route
This year, the Tour of Flanders route has undergone a reshuffle. The Molenberg is no longer the first climb that the riders face – instead that pleasure is taken by Den Ast, positioned after 131km of flat, blustery Belgian scenery. Then it’s hills, hills and more hills – 15 in total – before the riders hit the line in Meerbeke having raced 262km in total.
Start: Brugge 0km
1. Den Ast 131km
2. Klusberg 165km
3. Knokteberg 172km
4. Oude Kwaremont 179km
5. Paterberg 183km
6. Koppenberg 189km
7. Steenbeekdries 195km
8. Taaienberg 197km
9. Eikenberg 202km
10. Molenberg 217km
11. Leberg 224km
12. Berendries 229km
13. Tenbosse 236km
14. Muur – Kapelmuur 246km
15. Bosberg 250km
Finish: Meerbeke 262km
Click on the map to enlarge and open in a new window
Tour of Flanders 2010: Teams
BBox Bouygues Telecom
BMC Racing Team
Francaise des Jeux
Tour of Flanders 2010: British riders
Subject to confirmation
Ian Stannard (Team Sky)
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
Tom Faiers (Footon-Servetto)
David Millar (Garmin-Transitions)
Roger Hammond (Cervelo)
Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo)
Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo)
Tour of Flanders 2010: TV schedule
British Eurosport are covering the race live and with edited highlights:
12.00-16.00, Sunday, April 4: Tour of Flanders, live, British Eurosport
21.15-22.10, Sunday, April 4: Tour of Flanders, highlights, British Eurosport
(22.10-22.45, Sunday, April 4: Premier Calendar, Tour of the Reservoir highlights)
Tour of Flanders: Last year’s top ten (2009)
1. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 261km in 6-01-04
2. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo at 59 secs.
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto
4. Martijn Maaskant (Hol) Garmin
5. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha
6. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank
7. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Columbia-Highroad
8. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil
9. Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2R
10. Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
13. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo all same time
45. Dan Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 5min 38sec
75. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 6min 45sec
76. Steve Cummings (GB) Barloworld same time
Stijn Devolder, 2008
Tour of Flanders: Recent winners
2009 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step
2008 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step
2007 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre
2006 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
2005 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
2004 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) T-Mobile
2003 Peter van Petegem (Bel) Lotto
2002 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei
2001 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Vini Caldirola
2000 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto
Who will win the Tour of Flanders?
Blythe to race Tour of Flanders in support of Gilbert
Boasson Hagen out of Flanders with tendonitis
Team Sky reveals line-ups for Spring Classics
Haussler vows to bounce back from knee injury
Spring Classics 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Tour of Flanders 2009: Devolder wins for second time