The controversial Koppenberg climb has been dropped from the Tour of Flanders  – at least for the time being.

Tackled 17 times in Flanders in the race?s 90-year-history, the Koppenberg will not be back in 2007. In 2006, barely a dozen riders were able to ascend the rain-soaked climb on their bikes after a crash blocked the peloton. The rest went up the 600 metre ascent on foot.

Placed fifth in the Ronde?s series of climbs in recent years, around 65 kiloemtres from the line, the Koppenberg saw the decisive break of last April?s race go clear. But race organisers have said that the climb which has an average gradient of 11.6 percent was ?too risky and brought in too many non-sporting factors into the game.?

Many observers have pushed for the Koppenberg to be placed later in the Ronde route, where there are fewer riders in the peloton and its slopes – which reach 22 percent at some points – would presumably have a less devastating effect.

Photo: George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) on the Koppenberg, Tour of Flander 2006. By Luc Claessen.