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by Shane Stokes
December 7, 2017
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Peter Van Petegem won two editions of the Tour of Flanders.
The organisers of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad have announced that the race will share the final 60 kilometres of the former Tours of Flanders courses, finishing in Ninove and taking in many familiar climbs.
“The last 60 km are identical to the last Tour of Flanders with the finish in Ninove,” said Flanders Classics’ Wim van Herreweghe, according to Het Nieuwsblad. “This finale, with exactly the same succession of slopes, is engraved [in the minds of] many riders and cycling fans. The fact that the finish line be painted in exactly the same place as in the past can hardly be more symbolic.”
Peter van Petegem is a past winner of the race, being victorious on the same finale in 1999 and 2003. He is also celebrating the decision to retrace the route of the bigger Classic. “For many cycling enthusiasts, it is a happy reunion with the familiar final route,” the race director said. “The finale with the Muur and the Bosberg and the finish in Ninove appeals to everyone.”
The race will begin in Gent and will tackle 13 climbs and 8 cobblestone sectors. Those hurdles include Den Ast, the Katteberg, the Haaghoek, the Leberg the Kokkerelle, the Wolvenberg, the Ruiterstraat, the Jagerij, the Molenberg and, significantly, the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg.
There will also be a women’s race starting in the same place, and covering 122.2 kilometres. This distance will take in eight climbs and three cobblestone sectors and, like the men’s race, will cover the same final 60 kilometres.