In the Tour of Flanders today, the women face 153.3 kilometres (as opposed to 140 km last year) and 12 climbs (10 last year). The Molenberg, the Valkenberg and the Kaperij are being dropped from this year’s route. In their place are the Achterberg, the Eikenberg, Ten Bosse, the Muur van Geraardsbergen/Kapelmuur and the Pottelberg.
The pack sets off at 11 a.m. from the Mark in Oudenaarde, where the women are expected to return for their first passage through the town centre at about 12.20 p.m., 52 km later. At that point the riders will have already ridden the cobblestone sections of the Lange Munte, Lippenhovestraat and Paddestraat.
After passing through Oudenaarde they can expect six successive climbs and 2 cobble sections before tackling the 7th climb, the mythical Muur van Geraardsbergen, 60 km from the finish. These are: the Achterberg (at 56 km), the Eikenberg (at 63 km), the Wolvenberg (at 66 km), the Holleweg (cobblestone section, at 66 km), the Haaghoek (at 72 km), the Leberg (at 74 km), the Berendries (at 79 km) and Tenbosse (at 83 km).
The Pottelberg, at 112 km, is the last of the newcomers on the route. The last 40 km are unchanged and follow the amazing course that was so well received by the fans in 2016. Deep in the heart of the finish, after the Kanarieberg (35 km from home) and the Kruisberg/Hotond (29 km from home), comes the knock-out combination of the Oude Kwaremont (17 km from the finish) and the Paterberg (13 km from the finish) once again.