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Flemish Feedbag: Kemmelberg Lite, Boonen on Track?

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CN reports that the Kemmelberg will be a part of this year's route, but via a different direction that enables the peloton to descend on pavement instead of the usual cobbles. Scheduled for for its traditional Wednesday start after de Ronde (April 9), the route traditionally does a circuit around the town of Kemmel so they can catch the Kemmelberg and adjoining Monteberg twice in succession.

From the official site, this year's map doesn't look much different from last year's map. Perhaps they're just doing the Kemmel circuit in the opposite direction? I found an odd map of the site from a hotel webpage that shows a few different roads ascending Mount Kemmel, the highest point in Flanders... so maybe they're using a different road altogether. Perhaps someone who's ridden there can fill us in.

Anyway, the race organizers never considered removing the famous climb, even after last year's carnage:

"It was never an option to remove the Kemmelberg from the parcours," race director Hans de Clercq said, according to the "Belga" press agency. "Gent-Wevelgem is the Kemmelberg. But we had to make it safer."

Fair enough. In other Flemish cycling news, Tom Boonen wants to form a pursuit team for the 2008 Olympics, made up of himself and Quick Step teammates Gert Steegmans, Wouter Weylandt, and Sébastien Rosseler. I'm not a trackie, but apparently the race consists of two four-man teams on opposite sides of the track trying to catch each other. Actually, the whole idea is so freaking cool that I say it has to happen. Boonen's logic is that they're four massive-power dudes (no argument here) so surely it'll work. It's a little bit of a slap at the guys who spend years mastering the technique, so he won't be making any friends in the track world... but he's Tom Boonen, so I doubt we've heard the last of this.

Finally, because I'm a nice guy, here's a list of all the velodromes in the world.