Liveish: Circuit Franco Belge


The end of the season means it's time for the last stagerace on Belgian soil: the Franco Belge. As Chris described it once:

Welcome to the Circuit Franco-Belge, a race which travels the border of France, Hainaut (Wallonia) and West Flanders like a drunk walking a straight line. On cobblestones.

On some calendars and websites you may find this race under its new name: "Tour de l'Eurométropole 2013", but since the organisation keeps using the old name on their website and poster, I suggest we keep using it too.

The course builders wanted to commemorate the beginning of World War One (they couldn't wait til 2014?) so the riders will pass a few war cemeteries, museums and spots that have a link with the horrible things that happened in this area 99 years ago.

The course itself isn't very hard, but rain and wind can make things more interesting.

Stage 1: La Louvière - Moorslede (195km)


A passage thru the beautiful Pays des Collines early on in the race, some hills too (Hameau des Papins!), but the last 120 km are completely flat. This should be a stage for the sprinters.

Stage 2: Poperinge - Poperinge (172 km)


Stage two takes place in the Heuvelland area (Gent-Wevelgem). Six times up the Rodeberg/Vidaigneberg. Will that be enough to avoid a bunch sprint?

Stage 3: Hazebrouck - Nieuwpoort (164 km)


Stage three starts in France and brings the riders to the Belgian coast. A bunch sprint seems unavoidable.

Stage 4: Mons - Tournai (154 km)


Back to the Pays des Collines for the queen stage. The riders will have to climb the fearsome Col de la Croix Jubaru 7 (seven!) times. This is the only ‘official' col in Belgium that isn't situated in the Ardennes. This stage (together with stage two) should be decisive for the GC.



A good mix of WorldTour, Pro-conti and continental teams.


Lots of good sprinters: Degenkolb, Demare, Ciolek, Petacchi, Bennett, Bos, Boeckmans, Von Hoff, O'Shea, Howard, Kruopis, Van Hummel, Van Asbroeck, Van Staeyen, Petit, Napolitano,....

A bunch of classic types (GC guys?) Roelandts, Terpstra, Vanmarcke, Leukemans, Langeveld, Haussler, Bak, Burghardt, Offredo, Engoulvent,...

Laurens De Vreese will try to add another rushes jersey to his palmares.


Recaps after every stage and a live broadcast for the queen stage on sunday, when everybody will be watching another race somewhere in Italy. Directvélo will bring live updates for a ll stages on their ticker.

VDS points

Cat 6:

Placing on a stage


Final leader jersey

100, 70, 50, 30, 15


Official site - Roadbook - Startlist - Liveticker

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