Tour of Flanders 2011: The Big Preview

Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara begins his quest to make history this weekend as he seeks a second-successive Tour of Flanders (April 3) victory.

Cancellara, who dominated last weekend’s E3 Prijs Vlaanderen in nearby Harelbeke, is aiming to become the first rider to do the Flanders and Paris-Roubaix double twice.

Recent Ghent-Wevelgem victor Tom Boonen (Quick Step) will not only want to avenge his defeat to the Leopard-Trek rider here twelve months ago, but also give himself a chance of winning the historic double.

Boonen won both races in 2005, and would have made history a year later if it wasn’t for Cancellara’s dominance on the cobbles of northern Europe.

Tour of Flanders 2011: The route

For the second year running, the Ronde will feature a modified route, but organisers insist that the main ingredients of the race – along with its character – remain unchanged.

Having departed from its traditional start in Brugge, riders will head inland to Kortrijk instead of riding towards the coast.

The race is flat for the opening 70km, before the first of the 18 climbs are tackled.

The Kaperij (climb four) is new, while the Kruisberg – the second-most featured climb in the 95 editions of the race – has been reinstated for 2011. A new cobbled section is passed just before the Molenberg, and the Berendries is being repaired, so is skipped in favour of the Valkenberg.

No changes have been made to the finish, with the Tenbosse, Muur and the Bosberg all likely to be the scene of some explosive racing.

The Climbs
Start: Brugge 0km

1. Tiegemberg 70km 

2. Nokereberg 80km

3. Rekelberg 127km

4. Kaperij 139km

5. Kruisberg 154km

6. Knokteberg 164km

7. Oude Kwaremont 171km

8. Paterberg 175km

9. Koppenberg 181km

10. Steenbeekdries 187km

11. Taaienberg 190km

12. Eikenberg 194km

13. Molenberg 209km

14. Leberg 216km

15. Valkenberg 225km

16. Tenbosse 232km

17. Muur-Kapelmuur 242km
18. Bosberg 246km

Finish: Meerbeke 256km

Tour of Flanders 2011: The teams
Ag2r La Mondiale
Omega Pharma-Lotto
Quick Step
Saxo Bank-Sungard
Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
Veranda’s Willems-Accent

Tour of Flanders 2011: British riders
Roger Hammond

David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo)

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad)

Jeremy Hunt (Sky)

Ian Stannard (Sky)

Geraint Thomas (Sky)

Tour of Flanders 2011: TV schedule

British Eurosport

April 3, 11:15 – 16:15 Tour of Flanders LIVE

April 3, 23:15 – 00:15 Tour of Flanders highlights

April 4, 07:45 – 09:00 Tour of Flanders highlights

Eurosport HD

April 3, 11:30 – 16:00 Tour of Flanders LIVE

April 4, 07:45 – 09:00 Tour of Flanders highlights

Tour of Flanders 2010: Results

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank in 6-25-56

2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step at 1-15

3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 2-11

4. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil at 2-15

5. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions at 2-35

6. George Hincapie (USA) BMC

7. Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervelo Test Team

8. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana

9. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre- Farnese Vini

10. William Bonnet (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom all at st.

CW said: “Rarely does an event live up to the pre-race hype so completely… Cancellara became only the tenth rider in the history of cycling to win Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.”

Tour of Flanders 2011: Recent winners

2010 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank

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

* Cycle Sport magazine this month takes a look at Jacky Durand’s famous victory in the 1992 Tour of Flanders, along with previewing all the spring classics, and is on sale in the UK for the irrationally reasonable price of £4.25.

Related links

Team cars open door to TV for Flanders

Video: Riding the Muur van Geraardsbergen

Can anyone beat Cancellara? Public opinion says no

Tour of Flanders 2011: Who will win?

Cancellara and Boonen are bookies’ favourites for Flanders

Spring Classics 2011: coverage index

Thomas returns to the Northern Classics