Following on from the Belgian’s team recce of the World Championship course in Richmond, Tom Boonen has said that he feels that the course is relatively easy compared to the lap used in previous years.

He told Sporza: “It is an easy course compared to other years. It’s a very fast course, it’s just the section towards the finish which is serious. This is pretty difficult.”

The difficult section that Boonen spoke of consists of Libby Hill Park, 3.8 km from the finish. It’s a 250m long climb with cobbles. The riders then have to take on 23rd Street, some 150 meters long with a cobbled surface. The final difficulty is Governor Street, 290 meters long with an average gradient of 6.9 per cent with 680 metres of false flat to the finish.

“It’s nice that there are cobblestones on a World Championships course, but it is not much compared to our cobbled slopes in Flanders,” Boonen said. “Agreed, they are not good, but you can take on the first climb in the gutter and it only needs 20 or 30 metres over the cobblestones.

“Then follows the second climb, similar to a half or a third of the Paterberg. That is steep but very short, barely 150 metres cobblestones or so.”

“It remains an easy course. But that does not mean anything. Riders still make the race. It’s a cliché, but it is the truth. Sometimes you have a difficult course, but not a hard time. And sometimes it’s an easy course and it was a very difficult race.”

“It is all to be seen on Sunday. The climbs are not difficult, but the finish is. A lot can happen. There can be many riders who can become World Champion on this course.

“If it rains, it is another matter. It would be a good thing for the race, but then, it becomes dangerous. There is a lot of oil on the road and that makes it unsafe.”


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