Fancy riding the Kapelmuur with the crowds cheering you on? Now's your chance, thanks to Red Bull
It may be out of the Tour of Flanders this year, but cobbled climb remains one of cycling's classics
It's controversially been cut from the route of this year's Tour of Flanders, but in two weeks' time crowds will cheer cyclists up one of the sport's most famous climbs as the the Kapelmuur plays host to the Red Bull De Muur 300-metre uphill sprint. What's more, for the princely sum of €20, you could be one of the riders heading up the cobbles with fans' encouragement ringing in your ears.
The format is similar to the last month's Red Bull Hill Chasers, although with due respect to the citizens of Bristol, mention of Park Street where that was held is unlikely to get the heart pumping in the same way as the Muur does, at least for the fans - it might well do for anyone trying to go up it on a bike, mind.
The Red Bull De Muur takes place on Saturday 24 March on the final 300 metres of the climb, where the gradient hits 20 per cent - Fabian Cancellara isn't just putting that grimace on for the cameras in the picture below. Qualifying rounds will take place in the morning, with the winners going through to battle it out under the floodlights in the evening.
The winner will get a year of intensive personal coaching from Energy Lab and Paul Van Den Bosch, coach to cyclo-cross star Sven Nys - admittedly a bit impractical for anyone based in the UK - while the top three finishers will each get Eddy Merckx kit worth €150. The best female wins an Eddy Merckx AFX1 bike worth €995.
Entry can be made online through the event website, which is in Dutch only - well, Belgian Dutch to be precise - but it's reasonably obvious what goes where; if you get stuck, Google Translate will help.
Also known as the Mur de Grammont, the Muur-Kapelmuur, the Muur or, to use its official name, the Muur Van Geraardsbergen if you're not into the whole brevity thing, the climb will be missing from this year's Tour of Flanders - in Flemish, De Ronde Van Vlaanderen - following the decision to move the finish to Oudenarde from Meerbeke.
Included in the race for the first time in 1950, from 1988 until last year it was the penultimate climb of the race, ahead of the Bosberg, and has been a perneially favourite vantage point for fans and photographers alike. While it may be missing from De Ronde this year, there will be some racing on it this year - it features in the route of the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, and will also figure in the concluding stage of the Eneco Tour in each of the next three years.
Spartacus on the Muur on his way to winning the RVV in 2010 © Photosport International
Going to the Chapel... Armstrong hits top of the Muur in 2010 © Photosport International