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  1. #1
    Yo no fui.
    Reputation: Pablo's Avatar
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    No Koppenberg in Next Year's Flanders

    Am I the only one disappointed by this?

    First Edition Cycling News for November 8, 2006
    Edited by Sue George

    No walking shoes needed for Tour of Flanders 2007
    By Brecht Decaluwé and Sue George

    The next edition of the Tour of Flanders on April 8, 2007 will not feature the 'mythical' Koppenberg. Presenters made this important announcement during the presentation of the course for 'Flanders most beautiful' on Tuesday in Oudenaarde, Belgium. Other notable climbs like the Foreest and the Steenberg will be dropped, too, although eighteen climbs, one more than last year, will be in the 2007 Tour of Flanders.

    The omitted climbs will be replaced with some that have been part of recent editions of the Tour of Flanders: the Kluisberg, the Knokteberg, the Kortekeer, and a completely new climb, the Eikenmolen.

    By skipping the Koppenberg, the organizers are hoping to avoid a sporting fiasco. First introduced in 1976, the hill has given many riders cause to walk up it during the race. This spring, Tom Boonen and no more than seven other riders were the happy few who were able to ride up the steep, cobbled hill. But the 2006 edition wasn’t the first edition of the race in which racers had to walk the famous climb near tiny Melden, close to the city of Oudenaarde. Fans may remember legendary images from 1987 when Jesper Skibby's bike was run over by a following car after he fell. The vehicle barely missed his foot.

    Wim Van Herreweghe, organizer of the event, explained at the course presentation that the climb wasn’t expelled forever and that the riders can make the race as hard as they want to, even without the Koppenberg. “Maybe we can re-initiate the Koppenberg in the future as an executioner deep into the finale of the race, but we don’t want to allow the non-sporting elements to rule how the race unfolds,” Van Herreweghe said. “In the last 80km, there is a hill about every five kilometers, so I think the classical ingredients for a good Tour of Flanders are there,” said Van Herreweghe, expressing his desire for a classical battle through Flanders.

    In previous years, when the Koppenberg was in better condition, it was less decisive due to the fact that it came relatively early in the race, at 74km to go. Later climbs in the last 30km such as the Valkenberg and the Muur were historically more likely be a critical point. The Koppenberg climb was widened and recobbled, and re-introduced into the race in 2002. But the road surface has quickly deteriorated, creating notable gaps between the cobbles. Wet weather would certainly make the Koppenberg climb dangerous and perhaps too difficult. For the time being, the famed Koppenberg climb remains suitable only for 'cross racing in events like the last month's Koppenberg 'Cross.

    The 2007 Tour of Flanders includes the following climbs with each length, average grade, and maximum grade indicated:

    Molenberg 325m, 9.8%, 11.0%
    Wolvenberg 800m, 6.3%, 19.0%
    Kluisberg 1100m, 6.0%, 15.0%
    Knokteberg/Cote de Trieu 1100m, 8.0%, 13.0%
    Oude Kwaremont 2200m, 4.3%, 11.0%
    Paterberg 350m, 12.5%, 20.0%
    Kortekeer 6.0%
    Steenbeekdries 700m, 5.3%, 6.7%
    Taaienberg 475m, 9.5%, 18.0%
    Eikenberg 1175m, 5.5%, 11.0%
    Boigneberg 1050m, 5.2%, 12.4%
    Leberg 850m, 4.6%, 16.0%
    Berendries 900m, 4.7%, 14.0%
    Valkenberg 875m, 6.1%, 12.8%
    Tenbosse 450m, 6.9%, 8.7%
    Eikenmolen 610m, 5.9%
    Muur-Kapelmuur 825m, 9.3%, 20.0%
    Bosberg 475m, 8.4%, 11.0%
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars.” Laurent Fignon

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Argentius's Avatar
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    Sort of sucks. It was cool to see petacchi et all walking up the Koppenberg, but you knew the organizers weren't going to let that happen again -- face it, pro cycling is just at a different time and place now than when it was cool for 10 guys to ride over it, then have their teammates intentionally walk to force everyone else to slow down.

  3. #3
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    I'm curious who the people were that recobbled the climb only to have it fall apart again after 4 years.

  4. #4
    soy un perdedor
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    Koppenberg was a big part of last year's race.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails No Koppenberg in Next Year's Flanders-12.jpeg   No Koppenberg in Next Year's Flanders-koppenberg.jpg  

  5. #5
    Yo no fui.
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    Isn't the Ronde supposed to be hard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Argentius
    Sort of sucks. . . .but you knew the organizers weren't going to let that happen again -- face it, pro cycling is just at a different time and place now than when it was cool for 10 guys to ride over it, then have their teammates intentionally walk to force everyone else to slow down.
    I thought that Flanders, along with Roubaix, prided itself on being the hardest one-day race. It's not like when they took out the forest of Arenberg out of Roubaix. Making the non-leaders walk up doesn't put anyone in danger. And it sort of seems overblown, I don't remember anyone walking up the Koppenberg in 2004 when Weseman won.
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars.” Laurent Fignon

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    Am I the only one disappointed by this?
    A Sunday in Flanders --

    Here is a link to philippec's report on our viewing the Tour of Flanders from the top of the Koppenberg in 2006. A Sunday in Flanders...

    I did part of the cyclosportif the day before, but did not do the Koppenberg. Everyone talks about how hard the cobbled climbs are. They are hard. But there was one section where we descended on cobbles and then rode for a flat cobbled section prior to another climb. That was in a realm all by itself. When you are climbing up something like the Muur at a 20% grade, both your lungs and legs feel like you are going to die. But, if you do collapse, there is not much danger you will be hurt -- I swear that my bike was going so slow at one point that I felt like I was doing a track stand. However, when you are bombing down wet, muddy cobbles at 25-30 mph and your bike is jumping and wiggling, you really begin to wonder how sane you are.

    Yes, I am disappointed that the Koppenberg will not be in the race in 2007. But, I am even more disappointed that I probably never again will have a good business reason to be in Western Europe during any of the spring classics. Like the Tour de France, viewing the Tour of Flanders live is an experience that is about more than the race. As much as I enjoyed seeing Tom Boonen come over the crest of the Koppenberg and pass within a few feet of me (I was standing right next to philippec when he snapped the photo of Boonen in the report I have linked), I enjoyed even more watching the rest of the race in the beer tent with a bunch of alcohol-fueled Flandrians. Koppenberg or not, if you ever get the chance to see the Tour of Flanders live, do it.
    I try to be perfectly civil, until someone really pisses me off.

  7. #7
    Do not touch the trim.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argentius
    Sort of sucks. It was cool to see petacchi et all walking up the Koppenberg, but you knew the organizers weren't going to let that happen again -- face it, pro cycling is just at a different time and place now than when it was cool for 10 guys to ride over it, then have their teammates intentionally walk to force everyone else to slow down.
    Yep. Look at Baguet in that one picture. First guy to stop and walk causing the split, hmmmmm.

  8. #8
    Bickety bam!
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    Don't worry...

    The Ronde is going to plenty hard without the Koppenberg. I can completely see why they are leaving it out, as this is just but one climb on the entire course, and well, it's narrow, it's steep (this isn't the bad part), and it's cobbled. The road shouldn't make the race, and except for about 8 or 9 guys who got over the climb last year at the very front, for just about everyone else, race was over. That sucks. I'm sure that the racers won't miss it, and neither will I. Without this 'berg in there, it will make it a better more competitive race I think.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    Am I the only one disappointed by this?
    It was great watching the riders climb/walk/crawl over the Koppenberg. It's definitely a big disappoint for me to see this historic climb get dropped (pun intended).

    Here's a link to some great photos by Graham Watson:
    http://www.grahamwatson.com/2002/kop...ppencover.html

    I Wonder if Andy enjoyed the Koppenberg?

  10. #10
    n00bsauce
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    Who's that guy in yellow on the right and why doesn't he have any legs below the knees?
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

    There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn't sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog'll do that to you, he said.

    "We are all ignorant about most things."
    Mel Erickson

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