Tour of Flanders 2023 course announced
On Sunday 2 April, the Tour of Flanders starts again in Bruges for the first time since 2016. Via the Tour villages Beernem, Aalter, Izegem and Zulte, the peloton heads off towards the Flemish Ardennes for the famous finale, with a starring role for the duo Oude Kwaremont - Paterberg.
Over the next five years, Flanders’ Finest for the men will be starting in Bruges three times. After the 6 editions from Antwerp, riders and fans will need to acclimatise to the changes on 2 April. The approach to the Flemish Ardennes is different from what everyone has been used to in recent years.
“As in the past, the epicentre of the start will be the combination Grote Markt and ’t Zand,” says 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 3 times in the next 5 editions.”
After the start on the Grote Markt, the peloton passes through Bruges during the neutralised zone. “That will undoubtedly make for some beautiful images. The official start will be given after a little more than 8 km on Beernem territory. And thus we have the first Tour village.”
From Beernem, the peloton embarks on a journey of 273.4 km and the first thing that awaits is a passage in Aalter, also a Tour village. The riders then head towards Izegem, where the Belgian National Championships on the road will be held in June. The fourth and final Tour village is Zulte, after which the race remains in East Flanders for quite a while before the 19 climbs and 6 cobblestone stretches in the Flemish Ardennes.
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 3 visits. 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 45 km 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.
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Women again to the Koppenberg
The women will be celebrating on 2 April because this year will be an anniversary edition. Because then the Tour of Flanders for women will be celebrating its 20th edition. As usual, Oudenaarde is the epicentre of the women’s race, with both the start and the finish. After the team presentation with great interest on the Markt, the women commence their festive edition at 13:30 on the Markt in Oudenaarde.
We will know the winner after 158 km, with 13 climbs and 5 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 a package that includes the Molenberg, Berendries and Valkenberg all of which are also on the menu for the men. Just like last year, the Koppenberg also marks the opening of the finale for Lotte Kopecky and co. Via Mariaborrestraat, Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg and Kruisberg/Hotond, a finale identical to that of the men’s race takes the riders to the absolute highlight of the race on the duo Oude Kwaremont - Paterberg. After that, the final 13 kilometres to Oudenaarde await before the finish of the anniversary edition.
The women’s finale will again be broadcast live on television this year, 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. Around 17:30, we also know who will succeed Lotte Kopecky as winner of the Tour of Flanders this year.