Tour of Flanders sportive

by rbx   January 12, 2012  

Hi

Wondering if anyone here has attended, or plans to attend, the Tour of Flanders sportive and can provide some inputs on that.

I've got a small window for a cycling holiday any time in March and this seems to fit the timing. My fitness may not be up to mark after a winter away from cycling, but that I can work on.

What I need to know is:
a) how hard is it? (so I can prepare accordingly)
b) how are logistics for getting from end to anywhere? (I plan to stay in Brugge so would need to get there end of day)
c) anyone else going? (Up for any company, even if you leave me in your dust at the first corner)
d) what's the best place to watch the real Tour next day? (other than a pub with a TV)

Also, if there's another, better spring classic sportive, please do suggest.

Cheers!

rbx

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Best place to watch it is the Koppenberg then ride 10 mins to the Oude Kwaremont or the Paterberg which are being ridden 3 times, then a 20 min ride to the finish in Oudenaarde Big Grin

posted by Rob_Ward [18 posts]
12th January 2012 - 20:17

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I whole heartedly recommend www.go4cycling.com for the ultimate VIP Ronde experience. Get in touch with Nico who will explain all. I'll be riding then watching with G04! N

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posted by Nichiless [5 posts]
14th January 2012 - 16:43

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I should have read your post more carefully before responding!

1. There are a few length options to choose from - see how you feel nearer the time. I'm planning on the approx. 100 miler.

2. Logistics solved if you go with a specialist tour operator - www.go4cycling.com. They also have the 'Lion of Flanders' on hand - Johan Museeuw - to advise and coach. When I was with them last year we stayed at a hotel in Brugge about 3 mins stroll from the VIP start area, into which we had full access Smile

3. The more the merrier in the 'peloton' in my humble opinion. I doubt we'd leave any behind, and if we do it will probably be me! Go4 provide their own private feed stations, team car and mechanic support.

4. Watching: Go4cycling provide a breakfast with Johan Museeuw, VIP access to the team staging area (last year I had long chats with several top riders - Big George for one was very friendly). They then hop to several points along the route to see the riders pass. we watched from the Muur last year but this is no longer being ridden so I'm sure Nico, et al, will have something fantastic up their sleeves.

You can see some of my pics and tales from Ronde 2011 at http://fahrrad-cast.blogspot.com/

Hope to see you there Smile

Nick

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posted by Nichiless [5 posts]
14th January 2012 - 16:51

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OOps!

I should have added - yet again!

There is another great Spring sportive the following weekend: Paris-Roubaix. It will be running on the same day as the classic so it may not be possible to watch if you are riding?

I'm planning on spending the week week www.go4cycling.com for the full Spring classics treatment Smile

A bit of lifetimes dream fulfilled really.

N

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posted by Nichiless [5 posts]
14th January 2012 - 16:53

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How hard is it? Depends on what route you're riding, your fitness / training you've done?

This is a new course, so logistics of the course will be new to everyone. IME find somewhere and stay put - there are so many people following the race that if you try and move, you'll get caught in traffic and end up hearing the finish on the radio in Flemish!

You should be able to catch a train from Oudenaard back to Bruges, probably via Brussels.

There are likely to be big screens at key points on the finish circuit, so park yourself near one and enjoy the experience!

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [358 posts]
14th January 2012 - 19:40

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I did it last year - http://road.cc/content/feature/34113-good-vibrations-ronde-de-vlaanderen...

The guys I went with, Pave Cycling Classics, were fantastic. The stops were completely mad,but having independent support means you can skip them. If you can, then do!

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posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
16th January 2012 - 12:01

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Thanks Nichiless.

I've registered for the almost 100 miler one as well. If training goes really well over the next 2 months (highly unlikely), might switch to the full version on the day.

Checked Go4cycling's website - seems like a super setup. Unfortunately, they're quite a bit outside my budget for the whole trip. Maybe some other time after I've earned my millions Smile

Hope to see you there...

Cheers!

~rbx

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posted by rbx [243 posts]
16th January 2012 - 16:56

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Thanks for the info Monty!

I'm still split between staying in/near Brugge and watching the start. Or, staying near Oudenaard and watching the climbs/finish.

Just thought it may be easier to find acco in Brugge than in Oudenaard.

How hard is it - was meant for what to train for given the lack of many high hills, or any cobbled ones, around London. Would, say, riding 10 laps of the zig zag road on Box Hill at a go be right enough training, too easy or over kill? Smile

~rbx

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posted by rbx [243 posts]
16th January 2012 - 17:04

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Thanks Rob_ward!

That's one bit sorted in an easy 1 sentence answer Smile

~rbx

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posted by rbx [243 posts]
16th January 2012 - 17:05

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@Rob Simmonds: Thanks! Great article. Just doubled my interest in the sportive.

Writing to pave to see if they have any spots available for the Flanders weekend.

~rbx

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posted by rbx [243 posts]
16th January 2012 - 17:20

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rbx wrote:
@Rob Simmonds: Thanks! Great article. Just doubled my interest in the sportive.

Writing to pave to see if they have any spots available for the Flanders weekend.


Cool. Nice guys - say hello from me and do mention that you came to them via road.cc.

Re: training. The bergs are easier than you might expect, provided you do some short, sharp hills beforehand and aren't proud about having a compact or possibly a triple. The problem is the crowds, it's hard to muscle your way up when there are hundreds of overgeared MAMILs turning beetroot and falling sideways like dominoes. Of course if it's wet then all bets are off because the likes of the Koppenberg will be nigh on impassable. The *real* training is for the cobbles, because they are hugely draining. There are a few more threads on here dealing with cobbles and stuff which are worth searching out.

Have fun!

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posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
16th January 2012 - 17:55

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