On Sunday 7 April 2019, the 103rd Tour of Flanders will kick off again in Antwerp, for the third consecutive year. The race starts at 10:30 a.m., and the riders must cover a 267-km route, crossing the finish line in Oudenaarde’s Minderbroedersstraat for the 8th year running.
The 2019 route of Flanders’ Finest is more or less the same as in previous years. The riders will pass through all seven of the Tour villages, between Antwerp and Oudenaarde, again. They are Sint-Niklaas, Hamme-Zogge, Berlare, Aalst, Erpe-Mere, Herzele and Zottegem. Every town has planned plenty of activities and events, guaranteeing a celebratory race weekend. The pack then winds its way through the last Tour village, Zottegem, to hit the first cobbles of the Flemish Ardennes, namely Lippenhovestraat and Paddestraat.
3x Oude Kwaremont, 2x Paterberg and the Muur van Geraardsbergen (Wall of Geraardsbergen/Grammont) have all been maintained
This year again, the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg combo will play a decisive role in the race, with three and two passages respectively. The sequence of hills followed by cobbles will be maintained, with Oude Kwaremont as the first of a total of 17 climbs. A new addition to the route is the third hill. In 2019, the riders will tackle Ladeuze in Maarkedal instead of Edelareberg. The climb is 1,000-metres long with a 16% maximum gradient. Tenbosse and the Muur van Geraardsbergen are still at the same stage in the race as in the past two years.
After the Muur, the riders whizz past the Cycling Monument in Brakel, gathering their forces for the grand finale. Six consecutive typical cobbled hills, the famous Koppenberg at 45 km from the finish line, followed by the cobbles of Mariaborrestraat and the ascent of Steenbeekdries and Taaienberg. Then, with just 26 km to go, the riders attack Kruisberg/Hotond, and the ultimate combo of Oude Kwaremont (17 km) and Paterberg. The riders then rev up for the last 13-km push to the finish line in Oudenaarde, where the public eagerly awaits to see who will be Niki Terpstra’s successor.
Tour of Flanders for women organised for the 16th year running
The 2019 Tour of Flanders for women will start in Oudenaarde (10:55 a.m.), where the riders will also cross the finish line after 157 km.
The finale is a little trickier this year, following the addition of Taaienberg (at 40 km from the finish line) and a cobbled section of Steenbeekdries. The formidable finale is the same as the men’s race, with Kruisberg/Hotond, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. Anna van der Breggen’s successor will receive the trophy in Oudenaarde, after a Flanders’ Finest, with ten climbs and four cobbled stretches.
The juniors will also ride their Tour
The juniors will ride their Tour of Flanders between Herzele and Geraardsbergen. After passing through Zottegem and Brakel, and three local rounds with passages over the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg, the winner of the 51st Tour of Flanders for juniors will hurtle across the finish line on the Vesten in Geraardsbergen. Like Daniel Arnes, last year’s winner, the winner of this year’s Tour of Flanders for juniors will be able to look forward to a promising cycling future.