Organisers of the Tour of Flanders today unveiled changes to next year’s route that include a significantly-modified final 50 kilometres.
Most significantly, the Koppenberg will sit 44 kilometres from the finish in Oudenaarde, as opposed to 64 as it did in 2013. Belgian newspaper Hew Nieuwsblad say this repositioning will mean that the narrow, cobbled climb is “no longer a snack at 60 kilometers from the finish but marks the hour of truth.”
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Furthermore, instead of tackling the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg climbs three times in the second half of the race as they have done since 2012, riders will now only tackle the fearsome duo twice. As per the past two years, the last ascents will come in the final 17 kilometres of the Belgian monument.
As opposed to being the second climb tackled in this year’s race, the Taaienberg will be the 14th (of 17) in next year’s edition, and will sit 37 kilometres from the finish. The climb of the Hoogberg/Hotond is the most notable absentee from the 2014 route, having sat between the final two laps of the Kwaremont and Paterberg circuit since 2012.
Despite the modifications, the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen – first used in 1950 – will not be included for the third year running.
Next year’s edition – the 96th Ronde – will take place on April 6.