Flandrien Challenge - 4 days - Day 4
Are you ready for your last day on the bike? Taking in 8 climbs and 5 cobbled sectors, day 4 of the Flandrien Challenge is where you'll finally earn your spurs as a True Flandrien. 82 Kilometres and 905 climbing meters beginning with a coffee at the Centrum Rode Van Vlaanderen before sending you to the cobbles of the Nokereberg and back across the Schelde into the beating heart of the Tour of Flanders! Bergs & cobbles like the Molenberg, Kerkgate, Eikenberg and the Wolvenberg will make your legs scream one last time. But remember a True Flandrien never gives up and can reward themselves with something stronger than coffee back at the Centrum Ronde Van Vlaanderen's cafe.Show larger map
The last climb of Dwars Door Vlaanderen and the finale of Nokerekoerse: the only option here is to put the pedal to the metal and forge on ahead: a 350 m stretch, with an average gradient of 5.7% and the steepest incline at 7%, it was here that a touch of wheels in the sprint led to a huge crash for Mathieu Van Der Poel in the 2019 Nokerekoerse.
A 1450m long cobble section located in Wannegem-Lede and recognized by its windmill, dating to 1783. It was banned from the Ronde in 2008 when it fell into disrepair (although the organisers of the Sportif event had no such qualms in sending amateurs over it!) but now it's been cleaned up and makes for one of the best cobbled rides in the area. The open, flat section after the village is fast, with the wind normally behind you, and gives a great view of the surrounding country down to the Schelde.
A short cobblestone road runs straight through the adorable village of Mullem and leads you to foot of Den Ast. At the end of this slope you will find the castle of the Gerlache family, which is locally called the ‘Ter Ast’ castle. This climb has been used 5 times in the Ronde (1997-2000, 2010). A climb for the big ring.
The Molenberg was for a long time the first pivot point in the Ronde. Indeed, much hinged on the poor state of the cobblestones and the bottleneck that ensured when the peloton attacked the Molenberg. Two-time winner Peter Van Petegem always said: “If you’re not in the first 10 to take the Molenberg, it will take you at least half an hour to get back in front.” The Molenberg was also the place where Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara broke away from the pack in 2010. On that occasion, Cancellara went on to win the Tour of Flanders. This is a climb you want to hit hard.
2.550 meters of gently rising cobbles. The cobbles are not that nasty as their neighbouring sections but the grade of 3% will definitely hurt. This stretch is remembered for a moment in the 2015 Tour of Flanders where almost the entire favourites group took to the pavement amongst the spectators, except Ian Stannard who ploughed on through the middle of the cobble, oblivious. Attention Flandrien Challenge hunters: the markings on the road are currently wrong, but the Strava segment as integrated in our route is correct.Halfway along the Kerkgate is the cafe of De Witte Hoeve, which is one of the liveliest places to spectate Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, with the race passing twice and team staff handing up bidons on the pavement outside. Sometimes soigneurs can be seen sneaking a quick beer between passages.
With a maximum gradient of 'only' 10%, the Eikenberg looks fairly simple on paper, but the cobbles seem to go on for an awfully long time with no let up. There are bits and pieces of asphalt at the sides of the road as it climbs, offering a very brief respite to any riders who like things a bit smoother. The Eikenberg climb may not be as well known as the Oude Kwaremont or the Paterberg, but it plays a vital role in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as well as the Tour of Flanders.
The Volkegemberg was included 17 times (1974-1984, 1991-1996) in the Tour of Flanders. Until 1982 the slope consisted entirely of cobblestone road, after that it became an asphalt road with just200 meters of large, modern cobblestones at the top. At the moment the riders descend this slope and make a sharp right turn at the foot to start the climb of the Wolvenberg.