With added Koppenberg, the women’s Tour of Flanders gets a major upgrade

Iconic cobbled climbs have been added to both the women’s Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem for 2022.

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Race organiser Flanders Classics has announced the 2022 routes of major one-day women’s races Gent-Wevelgem and Tour of Flanders, with a couple of notable additions: the Kemmelberg and the Koppenberg, at long last!

Both climbs are of the iconic cobbled variety and have long been key features of the (significantly) more aged men’s equivalents. 

On March 27, 2022, the Women’s WorldTour makes its fifth stop at Gent-Wevelgem. The race starts at the Menin Gate in Ypres, and at 159 km, the route is 17 km longer than the 2021 edition won by Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma). The peloton then heads to De Moeren for the first time and, like the men, the riders will face a typically windy section on the way to the bergs.

After the Monteberg, the first ascent of the Kemmelberg will take the field up the Belvédère side, before looping back around via a sequence of climbs that includes the Scherpenberg and Baneberg. The steeper Ossuaire side of the Kemmelberg marks the final ascent of the race before a fast run-in to Wevelgem.

The last 54 km of the women’s race will be identical to the men’s (which will take on a more-or-less identical 249 km route to the 2021 edition), including the last few bergs where Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) repeatedly put his rivals to the sword earlier this year.

Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) wins the sprint to win 2021 Gent-Wevelgem.

The next stop for the Women’s WorldTour comes a week later on April 3, 2022. At 158 km, the Tour of Flanders is also longer than the past few years (but not the longest ever; that award goes to the 2019 edition, won by then European champion Marta Bastianelli) and will start in the same fashion as the men’s, with a loop over the Markt, Oudenaarde.

From there, the peloton heads for the hills and its first-ever assault of the jagged cobbles and 22% gradient of the storied Koppenberg. Once more, the last 45 km will be identical to the men’s, passing through Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg and Kruisberg, and climbing the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, before finishing on the Minderbroedersstraat back in Oudenaarde.

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) solos to victory at the 2021 Tour of Flanders.

Like this year, the women will finish about an hour after the men (approx 6pm local time), and both races will have their ‘finale’ broadcast live.

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