Bruges back as start of men’s Tour of Flanders

The men's finish remains the same with the Oude Kwaremont-Paterberg finale and the women's race celebrates its 20th edition.

Photo: TDW

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The start of the men’s Tour of Flanders will return to Bruges for 2023.

The men’s race started in Antwerp the past six years, but the Ronde van Vlaanderen is returning to Bruges and its famous market square, officials confirmed Thursday.

The switch means that there will be a different approach to the Oude Kwaremont-Paterberg finale, but there will not be a return of the famed Kapelmuur climb.

Related: Tour of Flanders: Mathieu van der Poel edges reduced sprint in dramatic final

“As in the past, the epicenter of the start will be the combination Grote Markt and ’t Zand,” said Nicolas Denys, head of road for Flanders Classics. “The heart of Bruges will totally immerse itself in cycling. Just as we are, the City of Bruges is looking forward to the departure of the race from Bruges three times in the next five editions.”

From Beernem, the peloton starts the 273.4km course, and first up is a passage in Aalter, also a Dorp van de Ronde.

After almost 110 km of racing, the Huisepontweg is the first cobblestone stretch of the day, followed by the Korte Ast. The peloton then heads to the Oude Kwaremont for the first of a total of three passages.

For the finale, nothing has changed. After the second visit to the Oude Kwaremont followed by the first climb of the Paterberg, the Koppenberg marks the opening of the finale with some 45km to go.

Via the Mariaborrestraat and Steenbeekdries, it is on to the Taaienberg and Kruisberg/Hotond. This is followed by the third passage on the Oude Kwaremont and the second time on the Paterberg.

Add some VIP tents, an estimated one million fans, and there is a bike race.

Women again to tackle the Koppenberg

Lotte Kopecky wins the Tour of Flanders
Belgian champion Kopecky won big in 2022. (Photo: Jasper Jacobs/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images)

The Women’s Tour of Flanders will be celebrating its 20th edition with no major changes.

Oudenaarde is the center of the women’s race, with both the start and the finish. The 158km route features 13 climbs and five cobblestone stretches along the way.

The Tiegemberg opens the cobblestone and climbing zone for the women. Via the Huisepontweg and Korte Ast, the women head towards the Molenberg, Berendries and Valkenberg.

Related: Tour of Flanders: Lotte Kopecky wins three-up sprint for huge home win

Just like last year, the Koppenberg also marks the opening of the finale toward the Oude Kwaremont-Paterberg duo.

After that, the final 13km drives back to Oudenaarde for the finish of the anniversary edition.

The women’s finale will again be broadcast live on television, following the finish of the men’s race. The finish of the men’s race is expected around 16:30 on the Minderbroedersstraat in Oudenaarde, with the women finishing about one hour later on April 2.


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