Where all of the madness culminates.

Posted on March 20 2019

Where all of the madness culminates.


The prestigious Tour of Flanders is a gritty grind over bone-shaking terrain which inevitably fractures the peloton and sets the stage for heroic breakaways and memorable stories.
It is one of the five Monuments of Cycling Classics and is traditionally held on the first Sunday of April. Due to Covid-19, the 2020 event was rescheduled for Sunday 18th October.

Throughout the race’s rich history the cobbles (or pave as they are referred to), have been a catalyst for high drama. Riders bunnyhop onto pavements, and narrowly miss passionate spectators to fight for their slice of smoother terrain. The gladiators, as they are often referred to, face energy-sapping head/cross winds and often rain, that turns the peloton ashen with mud.

Cycling is to Flanders what football is to Britain or ice hockey to Canada.

The list of previous winners is full of the great Classics riders, from Rik van Looy, Roger De Vlaeminck and Eddy Merckx to contemporary greats Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen.
No rider has ever won here more than three times, illustrating just how difficult a race it is to triumph in. Victory here is never simply a matter of being the strongest rider, but requires a perfect combination of tactics, team support, strength, as well as luck.


“If you have too high of a cadence you jump. If you have too low of a cadence you blow. If you have the right cadence you float.” - Fabian Cancellara, Flanders winner 2010,2013,2014.

Racing over cobblestones is always a challenge, but the Tour of Flanders is arguably the toughest of all. The riders face a total of eighteen cobbled climbs, each of them notorious not just for their difficulty, but for the many years of history they have encountered since the first edition of the Ronde back in 1913.
Clearing the cobbles is a skill which the Belgians excel at. The objective is to push a higher than usual gear and attack them as fast as you can.

Most famous of all is the Koppenberg, an absurdly difficult climb, thanks to its maximum gradient of 22% on the trickiest parts with uneven cobbles. Quite often, riders slow to the point of losing their balance, especially those at the back of the peloton, who have to dismount and scramble to the top on foot.
Since 2012 (when the much-loved Muur Van Geraardsbergen was removed), the Koppenberg has been pushed back to just 45km from the finish which plays a more decisive part in how the race unfolds.
However it’s the one-two combination punch of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg that are the most crucial. They are both climbed in succession shortly prior to the Koppenberg, the former punishingly long and the latter incredibly steep. But it’s the final time over each, that will become the moment of truth in this great race.
That said, Flanders never plays out in a straightforward manner.


Where: Belgium
When: Sunday 4th April 2021
Rank: UCI WorldTour
Distance: 263.7km (men) 152km (women)
The women’s race which is held on the same day as the men’s, celebrated its first edition in 2004. It uses a shorter route, but shares many of the same roads.


Distance from start/climb or cobbles/length
0km Start in Antwerp
87km Lippenhovestraat (cobbles), 1.3km
89km Paddestraat (cobbles), 1.5km
121km Oude Kwaremont, 2.2km
132km Kortekeer, 1km
137km Edelare, 1.5km
142.2km Wolvenberg, 0.64km
142.3km Holleweg (cobbles), 1.5km
148km Haaghoek (cobbles), 2km
151km Leberg, 0.95km
155km Berendries, 0.94km
160km Tenbosse, 0.45km
170km Muur/Kapelmuur, 0.74km
189km Pottelberg, 1.35km
195km Kanarieberg, 1km
211km Oude Kwaremont, 2.2km
214km Paterberg, 0.36km
221km Koppenberg, 0.7km
225km Mariaborrestraat (cobbles), 2km
226km Steenbeekdries, 0.7km
229km Taaienberg, 0.53km
240km Kruisberg, 2.5km
250km Oude Kwaremont, 2.2km
253km Paterberg, 0.36km
267km Finish in Oudenaarde


2001 Gianluca Bortolami (ITA) Tacconi Sport–Vini Caldirola
2002 Andrea Tafi (ITA) Mapei–Quick-Step
2003 Peter van Petegem (BEL) Lotto–Domo
2004 Steffen Wesemann (GER) T-Mobile Team
2005 Tom Boonen (BEL) Quick-Step–Innergetic
2006 Tom Boonen (BEL) Quick-Step–Innergetic
2007 Alessandro Ballan (ITA) Lampre–Fondital
2008 Stijn Devolder (BEL) Quick-Step
2009 Stijn Devolder (BEL) Quick-Step
2010 Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Team Saxo Bank
2011 Nick Nuyens (BEL) Saxo Bank–SunGard
2012 Tom Boonen (BEL) Omega Pharma–Quick-Step
2013 Fabian Cancellara (SUI) RadioShack–Leopard
2014 Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Trek Factory Racing
2015 Alexander Kristoff (NOR) Team Katusha
2016 Peter Sagan (SVK) Tinkoff
2017 Philippe Gilbert (BEL) Quick-Step Floors
2018 Niki Terpstra (NED) Quick-Step Floors
2019 Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling)
2020 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix


2004: Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Team Let’s Go Finland
2005: Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel (Ned) Buitenpoort-Flexpoint Team
2006: Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel (Ned) Buitenpoort-Flexpoint Team
2007: Nicole Cooke (GBR) Raleigh–Lifeforce–Creation HB Pro Cycling Team
2008: Judith Arndt (Ger)Team High Road
2009: Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger) Team Columbia Highroad Women
2010: Grace Verbeke (Bel) Lotto Ladies Team
2011: Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
2012: Judith Arndt (Ger) GreenEdge-AIS
2013: Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank Women Cycling Team
2014: Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Boels–Dolmans
2015: Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle–Honda
2016: Lizzie Armitstead (Gbr) Boels–Dolmans
2017: Coryn Rivera (USA) Team Sunweb
2018: Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels–Dolmans
2019: Marta Bastianelli (Team Virtu)
2020: Chantal van den Broeck-Blaak (Ned) Boels-Dolmans

Riders to watch out for:  Alexander Kristoff ; Greg Van Avermaet ; Peter Sagan;  Marianne Vos ; Lizzie Deignan


Let us wear our hearts on our Tee and pay homage to this great race.