Cobbles have returned to centre stage since the unveiling of the 2014 Tour de France route, and sportive riders can tackle some for themselves with entries for the Ronde van Vlaanderen [Tour of Flanders] Cyclo open on Friday November 1.
The event, one of the most popular overseas sportives on the calendar, follows the route of the Tour of Flanders the day before the Classic road race, with this year’s Cyclo taking place on Saturday April 5.
Typically attracting riders from countries around the globe, it offers the chance to tackle the famous sections of pavé lining the route of the ‘Monument’ Classic.
Billed as the biggest event on the Flandrian sportive calendar, the Cyclo will take in Valkenberg, the famous steep, cobbled slope of the Koppenberg and the ‘wall’ at Geraardsbergen.
The Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg, Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg, Leberg, Berendries and Eikenmolen also feature, before the World Tour riders – likely to include 2013 winner Fabian Cancellara – tackle the same roads the following day.
Three distances are available and while details are still to be finalised. Last year’s event featured 258km, 133km and 83km routes – the former featuring 1693m of climbing and eight sections of pavé.
For those still unconvinced, organisers have set up www.cycling-in-flanders.com to provide an further inspiration.
Packages are available for riders hoping to tackle the sportive before lining the route the following day to cheer on the riders of the professional peloton.