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Ronde van Vlaanderen

Tour of Flanders
Local name Ronde van Vlaanderen
Region 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png Flanders, Belgium
Date Early April
Type One-day race
History
First Edition 1913
Number of Editions 89
Firstwinner 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png Paul Deman
Mostwins 3 times 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png Achiel Buysse, 3dflagsdotcom italy2bs.gif Fiorenzo Magni,22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png Eric Leman, 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png Johan Museeuw
Mostrecent 3dflagsdotcom italy2bs.gif Alessandro Ballan</td></tr>


The Ronde van Vlaanderen (English: Tour of Flanders) is a road cycling race held in Flanders, Belgium. It is held every spring, exactly one week before Paris-Roubaix, and it used to be part of the UCI Road World Cup. It is now part of the UCI ProTour and is regarded as one of the 'Monuments' of the European professional cycling calendar.

History

German road racer Steffen Wesemann climbing the Muur (wall) of Geraardsbergen in the 2004 edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

The race was initiated in 1913 by Karel van Wijnendaele, a former cyclist. Initially not a big success, the race was interrupted by World War I, but continued in 1919. In the 1920s and 1930s, the race became more popular, and is currently considered the most important race in Flanders, where road cycling is extremely popular. The nickname of the race is Vlaanderens mooiste, or "Flanders's finest". The town of Oudenaarde, through which the Ronde habitually passes, has a museum - the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen - dedicated to the race.

Course

The course contains many steep hills, often paved with cobblestones. While it is often compared to the Paris-Roubaix race in that both contain many cobbled sections, the Ronde's inclusion of many steep, and often cobbled, short hills make racing different compared to the flat Paris-Roubaix, where cobbled sections are harder and more technical.

The route does not change much from year-to-year. A major change was the inclusion of the steep Koppenberg climb in 2003, having been refurbished from its previous disrepair. The 2007 edition saw another change with the Koppenberg being dropped once more, the inclusion of the Kluisberg and the Côte de Trieu, which were unavailable through roadworks in past years and the first ascent of the Eikenmolen. Spectators try to watch the Ronde pass as many points as possible [1].

Comments

Belgian cyclist Roger De Vlaeminck riding the Koppenberg in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. De Vlaeminck won the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 1977.
  • "Only those who are in top condition can say that the Ronde is not hard. For everyone else, it's the Way of the Cross." -Andrea Tafi

Few riders have won both the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix in the same year:

  1. 1923 Heiri Suter 20px-Flag of Switzerland.png
  2. 1932 Romain Gijssels 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
  3. 1934 Gaston Rebry 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
  4. 1954 Raymond Impanis 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
  5. 1957 Fred De Bruyne 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
  6. 1962 Rik van Looy 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
  7. 1977 Roger De Vlaeminck 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
  8. 2003 Peter van Petegem 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
  9. 2005 Tom Boonen 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png

The day before the race sees the cyclosportive (open) race version of the Ronde in which amateur cyclists participate in large numbers.

Winners


External links



UCI ProTour

2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008

Tour Down Under | Ronde van Vlaanderen | Vuelta al País Vasco | Gent-Wevelgem | Amstel Gold Race | Tour de Romandie | Volta a Catalunya | Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré | Tour de Suisse | Eindhoven TTT | Clásica de San Sebastián | Eneco Tour of Benelux | GP Ouest-France | Deutschland Tour | Vattenfall Cyclassics | Tour de Pologne