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This year the number of riders in the Ronde van Vlaanderen voor Wielertoeristen was the highest...
This year the number of riders in the Ronde van Vlaanderen voor Wielertoeristen was the highest number achieved, with 19,000 people. Many decided to do the famous hellingen one day ahead of the Tour of Flanders because of the nice weather.
The wanna-be Devolders could choose between three different routes of 70, 140 and 250 kilometres, the latter being more or less the original course tackled by the professionals on Sunday. 3,500 riders opted for this version, with the official start possible at 7am.
The 140-kilometre version cut out the flat parts between Brugge and the Molenberg but did include all 16 climbs of the day. Only the 70-kilometre Ronde had a reduced number of hellingen, but still featured the Muur van Geraardsbergen.
The event is quite popular with foreigners, especially from neighbouring Netherlands and Germany, but also Great Britain. About 700 Britons crossed the channel for the event. Approximately one fifth of the participants were from foreign countries.
The previous record was set in 2007, with 18,000 riders. In 2008, there was still a strong turn-out of 17,000, despite heavy rain showers and hail along the way.
Off-road routes for mountain bikers were also offered.