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Ronde van Vlaanderen stays as it is now

After some tinkering the Flanders Classics organizers have found a format they are happy with. The Ronde parcours we saw this year will be the basic formula for the years to come. Muur van Gerardsbergen traditionalists will have to resort to youtube nostalgia to get their fix.

Bryn Lennon - Velo/Getty Images

Sportwereld today reports that they feel they have finally found a winning formula for the race finale. The concept of three Oude Kwaremont passes (one very early), two passes of the Paterberg and the Koppenberg as the grand opening and launchpad on the final round that runs into the Kwaremont/Paterberg climax. The introduction of this last lap with Koppenberg linking up with Steenbeekdries and the attackable Taaienberg (gutter , I spit on it) and the sapping Kruisberg really seemed to open up the finale in a way that the previous two years couldn't. The race director Wim van Herrewege says that "the course proved its worth on Sunday and we want to build a tradition on this".

In the previous editions tired legs from a brutal course combined with the sense of inevitability that none of the late challenges were useful as launchpads made for very conservative racing, sitting tight waiting for the last pass of the Oude Kwaremont made perfect sense. With this version the organizers probably feel they found the right way to combine the open nature of the old course, where winning moves could come at any number of places, with the financial viability of the new course. These guys have to finance their race somehow and the opportunities for hospitality/VIP tents (with all the ticket and beer sales that come with them) on the Kwaremont where people get to see the race three times is about as good as they can get it.

Sportwereld also reports that Flanders Classics have a deal with Oudenaarde, the town that really is the heart of De Ronde, to host the finish for another three years and with Brugge to host the start for another two years. So the variables to play with are the the early parts of the course where they choose to highlight different areas each year and presumably also which hills will be included before that Koppenberg -> Paterberg finale. The options are endless in the area, you basically cant throw an empty Ename Blond bottle in any direction without hitting a nasty climb that will have Sep licking his lips and the rest of us mere mortals crying in our sleep.