Full details for this year's Tour of Flanders (Sunday, April 6): route, teams, past winners, TV coverage and more
It’s April again, which means some of the most eagerly-anticipated races in professional cycling are nearly upon us.
First up is the Tour of Flanders on Sunday (April 6), the second of the five monuments and the biggest Flemish race of the year. No region is as closely associated with professional cycling as Flanders, and the locals flock to the roadside every year to see the world’s best classics riders on top form and riding to win.
Many in the peloton will have trained all year so far with the specific intention of peaking for this race and next weekend’s Paris-Roubaix. Among them is home hero Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), who is seeking a record breaking fourth win, and these days focuses his season almost exclusively around these two races.
Other favourites Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) have wider ambitions beyond these cobblestoned-classics, but for each the Tour of Flanders represents one of the year’s most important day of racing. Victory for Cancellara would draw him level with Boonen on three wins, while Sagan is desperate to claim his first ever monument.
Team Sky also has pretences of winning, but their preparation suffered a major blow when Ian Stannard – who had looked so impressive in winning Het Nieuwsblad a month ago – pulled out having suffered a fracture in a Ghent-Wevelgem crash. Compatriot Geraint Thomas, however, is on fine form, and should be in the thick of it come Sunday.
The nature of the Ronde’s route – which in the second half zigzags around a small area of Flanders – makes it easy for subtle but significant changes to be made, and in recent years the course has undergone several. The most prominent alteration occurred in 2012, when the organisers removed the final pairing of the Muur and the Bosberg, and replaced them with the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg (which are both also climbed twice beforehand).
The organisers have been criticised for this change, with many citing corporate reasons for the increased prominence of these two hospitality-friendly bergs, and berated the loss of the traditional Muur. The change has also led to less exciting racing, with the last two editions being more attritional and predictable compared with the tactical and aggressive races of the past.
This year has seen more amendments, the most notable being the repositioning of the Koppenberg climb to just 45 kilometres from the finish. This climb is famous for its steep gradient and uneven pavé, and always created splits in the peloton in its former position earlier in the route, but now, situated immediately after the penultimate ascents of the Kwaremont and Paterberg, it will play an even more decisive role.
Whether or not it is used as a launchpad for an attack or as yet another climb to be ridden hard but defensively remains to be seen, but here’s to hoping for a return to the more subtle, exciting racing of pre-2012.
Tour of Flanders 2014
When: Sunday, April 6
Status: UCI WorldTour
Tour of Flanders 2014: Climbs
Start: Bruges 0km
1. Oude Kwaremont 109km
2. Kortekeer 119km
3. Eikenberg 127km
4. Wolvenberg 130km
5. Molenberg 142km
6. Leberg 163km
7. Valkenberg 171km
8. Kaperij 181km
9. Kanarieberg 189km
10. Oude Kwaremont 205km
11. Paterberg 208km
12. Koppenberg 215km
13. Steenbeekdries 220km
14. Taaienberg 222km
15. Kruisberg (Oudestraat) 233km
16. Oude Kwaremont 243km
17. Paterberg 246km
Finish: Oudenaarde: 259km
Tour of Flanders 2014: TV schedule
Digital and satellite channel British Eurosport will be broadcasting live coverage of the 2014 Tour of Flanders.
Sunday April 6, 11.30-16.00, Tour of Flanders LIVE, British Eurosport & HD
Sunday April 6, 18.30-20.00, Tour of Flanders highlights, British Eurosport & HD
Sunday April 6, 21.30-23.00, Tour of Flanders highlights, British Eurosport 2 & HD
Tour of Flanders 2014: Teams
Ag2r La Mondiale
Cofidis Credit Solutions
Trek Factory Racing
Tour of Flanders: Recent winners
2013 Fabian Cancellara (Sui) RadioShack-Leopard
2012 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
2011 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank
2010 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
2009 Stijn Devolder (Bel) QuickStep
2008 Stijn Devolder (Bel) QuickStep
2007 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre
2006 Tom Boonen (Bel) QuickStep
2005 Tom Boonen (Bel) QuickStep
2004 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) T-Mobile
Tour of Flanders: Last year’s top 10 (2013)
1. Fabian Cancellara (Sui) RadioShack 6-05-58
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 1-26
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 1-26
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 1-38
5. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ at 1-40
6. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling at 1-40
7. Greg Van Avermat (Bel) BMC at 1-40
8. Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Euskaltel Euskadi at 1-40
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos Shimano at 1-40
10. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica GreenEdge at 1-40