Bergs & Gravel
Koppenberg, Kwaremont, Oudenaarde; all world famous landmarks in road cycling. But what happens when you mix famous cobbled hills with gravel, singletracks and unknown roads? Right, that’s when you get a next level gravel adventure! A route with hidden gems, alternated by world's most famous cobbles. And if you’re lucky, like our friends at Fatpigeon.cc on their recon ride, you can even get rewarded with some Flandrien weather along the way. Just as if a 85km gravel ride with 1.500m of climbing on the most demanding terrain in Flanders isn’t epic enough. Some famous cobbled climbs, like the Oude Kwaremont, are conquered from the unpaved side. These unknown roads provide a whole new perspective on places that have already had their place in cycling for over 100 years. This route is epic, so come prepared to enjoy this ride over all sorts of gravel, through history and along some of the most iconic places in the sport of cycling. Difficulty: don't expect an easy rolling gravel ride. The route is constantly going up and down on all sorts of terrain. Although we avoided the muddiest paths, we advice you to ride this route between April and Oktober.Show larger map
Cycling HubsCentrum Ronde Van Vlaanderen
Food & DrinkPeloton Café
Starting from the capital of spring classics, Oudenaarde, make sure to warm up fast. A couple of gravel sections and some narrow back roads lead to the first of many climbs. And it’s that first one, that’s also the most feared one. The Koppenberg forces even the strongest riders in the peloton to unclip and walk every now and then. Incredibly steep cobbles will set the tone for lactic acid in your legs on this ride. At the top, a narrow singletrack leads you down, only to get ready for the next climb. It’s these kinds of combo’s that you’ll encounter a lot during this ride. Unexpected turns, explosive climbs and technical sections.
Koppenberg as a warm-up
The ‘bump’ of Melden, as the Koppenberg is locally known, is guaranteed to add suspense to the Ronde, every year. Not surprisingly it has been listed as a national monument. This hill and over 100 acres of surrounding countryside add up to one the most beautiful natural hotspots in the Flemish Ardennes.The Koppenberg is also probably the most difficult climb in the region, combining maximum gradient of 20% with rutted, worn cobbles and a constantly greasy surface. There's no shame in having to stop. Better men than us have had to walk up here. Legend has it that the climb was introduced to the Tour of Flanders organisers by 2 time winner Walter Godefroot, but only after he'd retired so he wouldn't have to race up it.
Dive into the biggest forest of the Flemish Ardennes: Kluisbos. 141m high and located on the language border between Flanders and Wallonia. You could stop here for a drink or a bite at the 'Bosbaar' forest bar.
Splendid views included
Just about half way. Time for a rice cake stop in the authentic bakery Deraedt at Kruisstraat 46, Ronse.
The 750m climb starts going gently uphill from the center of Ronse. The upper – and steepest – part of the climb has a roughly-paved cobbled surface, totaling 450 m of cobbles. The climb was first included in the Tour of Flanders route in 1973 and has become a fixed location in the route since the race's restyling in 2012. In recent years, it comes at 26 km from the finish in Oudenaarde, as the last cobbled climb before the iconic Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg climbs. The Kruisberg is also regularly included in the Three Days of De Panne, E3 Harelbeke.
Tailwind or headwind?
Ronde van Vlaanderen chapel
The scenery of this region breathes cycling. Don't forget to pay a visit to this chapel, dedicated to former winners of ‘De Ronde’.
Green grass of home
Time for some classic cobbles: Kerkgate followed by Ruitersstraat.
If your legs were strong enough, if your gravel bike survived and when your mental strength overpowered your bodies’ signs of exhaustion, you deserve a cold Belgian beer. Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen at the market square provides the perfect spot for this.