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De Ronde van Vlaanderen: No More Eikenmolen?

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We are still at least a month away from the official announcement of the 2010 Tour of Flanders route, but word is leaking out of Belgium that the Eikenmolen -- a decisive climb since its introduction two years ago -- may be removed from this year's finale. Two years in a row, the Eikenmolen (or Oak Mill) was the scene of Stijn Devolder's winning move, but apparently roadwork is causing some adjustment of the course. Not an unusual development, and the removal of the Oak Mill just returns the finale to its former state, when everyone assumed the key move would happen on the Valkenberg or the Muur. Back in would be the Parikeberg, halfway between Geraardsbergen and Brakel, which I think means it comes between the Valkenberg and the Muur. If so, the Parikeberg would be more of a palate cleanser, 0.6km averaging under 6%, between the two more decisive events.

Official route is expected in "mid-January." I plan to rig a computer to stay open to Sporza and autorefresh every 45 seconds, starting January 11. Stay tuned.