Tour of Flanders unveils 2015 route

The Tour of Flanders route will look very similar to its 2014 running. What's that mean for Cancellara, Boonen and company?

Photo: BrakeThrough Media

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The route for the 2015 Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) was announced on Tuesday. The prevailing theme? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The closing 150 kilometers will be the same as the 2014 race, which saw the culling of long, flat sections in the final 100 kilometers. The race won’t go longer than 12 kilometers in the final 150 without a cobbled section or climb, making for tense racing in the closing hours. Last year, Fabian Cancellara won a rugged race blasted with wind and peppered with crashes in the final hundred kilometers.

The big Swiss was in a four-man break with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin), and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and none of them seemed eager to fight the final battle. The race may play out similarly this year, with the big riders waiting until late in the day to roll the dice.

De Ronde will again roll out of the dazzling city of Bruges, and hit Oudenaarde for the first time 100km in. Two hills have been added to the 2014 parcours — the Tiegemberg is new to the race and will be the first climb, and Berendries is the eighth crest, and is back after two years’ absence due to road work.

The main attraction will commence at the Koppenberg, which opens the door to the flashpoint of the race. The short, narrow, and steep climb is more about the struggle for position than anything, as a stressed peloton squeezes down and begins to think about selection. From there, it’s 45km to the finish, with the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg duo again at the likely at center of the winning move. Koppenberg is followed by Steenbeekdries (at 39km), Taaienberg (at 37km), Kruisberg (at 28km), Oude Kwaremont (at 17km), and Paterberg (at 13km). The field will hit the Kwaremont three times and the Paterberg twice.

Flanders is one of the sport’s one-day lions and hosts more than 800,000 spectators along its route. There will be spectator villages on the Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg, Kruisberg, Koppenberg, and at the finishing line in Oudenaarde.

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