Amateurs riding the Tour of Flanders course

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by jeff828, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. jeff828

    jeff828 New Member

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    Has anyone ridden the "cycling tourist ronde van vlaanderen ride" that is held in April the day before the pro's race the Tour of Flanders.
    http://www.sport.be/cycling/rondevanvlaanderen/2007/eng/
    Pictures http://www.rvv.be/2007/eng/fotos/wielertoeristen2007.html

    This is a ride that is open to the public and you get to ride the same exact course, with all the climbs, that the pro’s will ride the next day. How cool would it be to ride the course, then watch the pro’s race the next day in person the way the Belgium’s do!!
    Does anyone have any advice/tips on riding the event, either from personal experience or knowledge because they live in Belgium? Here are some quick questions

    ...Is the start and finish in the same cities every year?
    ...Are the shorter courses always started in Ninove?
    ...What is the temperature usually in April?
    ...Is it hard to rent a car & drive the roads in general?
    ...If you stay in Brussels, do all the hotels fill up fast?
    ...Are there any sites where I could read peoples blogs/experiences/advice?
    ...Is it easy to follow the course to see the pro's racing? I’ve read where people watch them pass on a climb, then take back roads to get to another point watch them and so on.
    ...Are there better sites than this one for information? http://www.sport.be/cycling/rondevanvlaanderen/2007/eng/


    Any advise would be appreciated
     
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  2. Karl Hungus

    Karl Hungus New Member

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    I'm going to reply so that we can keep this question current.

    It's a great question and I agree, it would be soooo cool to do this.

    I am looking at trying to do the "Etape" in a few years during the TDF. I had not heard about the Flanders one.

    I would totally love to try Paris-Roubaix but I have not heard that they have one. I've heard that Arenburg is only open for the amateur and pro race and closed the rest of the year.

    Hopefully someone will reply who knows something!

    Buck
     
  3. pjotr_h

    pjotr_h New Member

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    Hi jeff,
    I rode the "ronde van vlaanderen" for cycling tourists two times (2002 and 2003) together with my wife an people from my club.
    My Wife and one of my Friends wrote something for our Website, unfortunately it's in german (http://www.hernolds-radseiten.de/RTFDB/?go=222). But I will try to give you some information.

    It's a great tour, very difficult, early in the season and hard because of the distance and the steep climbs (up to 22% :eek: ) and the paving stones (20-25 km with paving). I recommend using two plies of handle bar tape to prevent stiff fingers on the paving. Using 25 mm tires with 8 bar pressure could be helpfull to prevent flat tires.

    The start of the long distance course is at the marketplace of Brügge (nice city!) for years and the Finish is in Merbeke near Ninove. When you subscribe for the tour you can book a bus from Ninove to the start in Brügge in the early morning. So you don't have to deal with the question how to get to the start.


    AFAIK Yes

    Espically in April the weather conditions ar very variable, temperature is about 5-10 Degrees Celsius, more or less is even possible. In 2002 there was a very strong headwind on a large part of the course (sometimes up to 7 bft.).

    We have been to beligum with our own cars but car rental should not be a problem.

    I've never been to Brussel. We booked a hotel in Aalst, about 30 km north of Ninove. The hotel was almost fully booked because of the huge number of participants in the cycling tour (~10000 on all courses) and the reporters and supporters of te pro race.

    It is possible to do so but if you want to be at one on the famous spectacular places like the "kapelmuur" ("wall from geradsbergen") you have to be early and stay there for the whole afternoon, because of the masses. The "kapelmuur" is one of the key hills and therefore we have been in Geradsbergen both years. We arrived at the "Kapelmuur" at about 1 p.m. an stayed there until 4 p.m. After the riders left Geradsbergen it took a while to get back to the car due to the masses of supporters. In Geradsbergen their was a big video-screen in the village where you can follow the race to the finish after the riders have passed.

    Hope this helps.
    Regards p.
     
  4. pjotr_h

    pjotr_h New Member

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    Paris-Roubaix for cycling tourists is every 2 years and in June, not in April, when the pro race is.

    If you want to ride one day before the pros or on the same day you can choose the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands.

    p.
     
  5. bing181

    bing181 New Member

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    Some good info above.

    I live in Brussels, and have twice done the Flanders ride .. though not the one in April - too many riders for me. There's another one a month later, run by the main Flemish "cyclotourist" organisation, and they have fewer riders (only about 5000 ...), but do basically the same route.

    http://www.vlaamsewielrijdersbond.wad.be/content/events/record.php?ID=854

    Whichever you do, it's close enough to Brussels.

    I don't know if I'll do either next year, amongst the "Etape" type rides I've done, it's the one I enjoyed the least. In Belgium, I much prefer the rides in the Ardennes (Liege Bastogne Liege etc.). I just don't get the "killer hills on shitty back roads" romance ... but that's just me! Not to mention the current political situation here, which doesn't give me much desire to go riding in Flanders.

    B
     
  6. Karl Hungus

    Karl Hungus New Member

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    Great info!

    I have just added the Flanders/LBL/Paris Roubaix onto my "To-do in the next 5 years" list!

    Exciting to think about them and plan for them!
     
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