A story this morning emerged on Het Nieuwsblad about De Ronde and knowing anytime is a good time to talk about De Ronde, it needs discussion. The contract for both Brugge, the start of De Ronde, and Meerbeke/Ninove is up next year and rumors, which Het Nieuwsblad is big into, that there might be a shake up in the beginning and end of the biggest race in Belgian cycling.
A small snippet of the article had a quote from Flanders Classics ( company in charge of pretty much all the big Belgian one-days minus E3) director Wim Van Herreweghe saying that moving from either was definitely not set in stone and moving could be a possibility but will only be looked at after next year's race. He was also quoted at saying that it is not only Meerbeke but the iconic run up of the Muur/Kapelmuur and the Bosberg to be considered. (which if changed, Chris might go on a rampage.) The race as we know it has more often than not come down to a showdown on the Muur or afterwards. Cities that have been mentioned in rumors for the finish are Oudenaarde and Ronse. The start could definitely move as it has twice in the past...Gent hosted the start from its inception all the way to 1976 then moved to Sint-Niklaas for 20 years and followed with a controversial move to Brugge.
I find it highly unlikely that there would be a move from Meerbeke just because the Muur/Bosberg finish would not a be a possibility thus the mystique of the Muur would fade if it fell back in the rotation and was 40-50km away from the finish that it still could be decisive but it wouldn't be a soul crusher like it has in the recent past. It would be like taking out Arenberg out of Roubaix...oh wait...
So would you, the fan, like to see a shakeup in De Ronde? A move in the start/finish could move some of the hills around as well so please :) discuss...never a bad time to talk cobbles!