As if there weren’t enough problems in the world right now, local authorities in Belgium spent yesterday laying a strip of smooth asphalt up the side of a famous cobbled climb ahead of the cobbled classics.
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The Eikenberg climb may not be as well known as the Oude Kwaremont or the Paterberg, but it still plays a vital role in this week’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as well as the Tour of Flanders.
Hats off then to one man who, in scenes reminiscent of the unknown man standing in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989, bravely stood up to the steam roller, scraping away at the wet tarmac to expose the cobblestones beneath.
Unfortunately the man’s attempts to stop the tarmacking of the edge of the road (don’t worry, the main bit of the road is still cobbles) were unsuccessful. meaning there could be a faster way up the climb when Omloop Het Nieuwsblad arrives on Saturday.
Speaking to Sporza about the new surface, Lotto-Soudal’s Tiesj Benoot said that he hoped race organisers would put barriers on top of the new tarmac to force riders to use the cobbles, while Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) described the climb as “a Formula One circuit”.