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Lars Boom (Rabobank) won the 2009 Tour of Belgium.
Organisers shuffle stages to increase excitement of 80th edition
Organisers of the 2010 Tour of Belgium have announced the official course for the 80th edition of race, with the Côte de la Redoute to feature as one of nine climbs on the race's final stage.
While the race will retain an individual time trial, officials have moved it to the penultimate day of the five-stage event in order to make way for a hilly finale around the town of Herstal in the Ardennes region of Belgium. Organiser Rob Discart explained that the change has been introduced in order to increase the excitement of the race's final day.
"This year, the time trial does not fall on the last day as we wanted to create some variety. The ride in Herstal on the last day will decide everything," he said. "The finale has been spiced up with nine slopes, including the Côte de Theux, Côte de la Redoute and Côte de la Foret. The finish is located five kilometres from the Côte Bois la Dame. The rider that comes up this alone may well win the Tour of Belgium."
The Tour will commence in Eeklo on May 26 with three days worth of flat stages that will see the peloton travel across Flanders and into Wallonia. The race will return to East Flanders for a 16.7-kilometre time trial in Herzele before moving close to Liège for the final day.
Last year, the race was won overall by Rabobank's Lars Boom. The former cyclo-cross world champion moved into the lead of the 2009 race with second place in the final day's time trial. He finished 18 seconds ahead of teammate Koos Moerenhout and 28 seconds ahead of third-placed Dominique Cornu (Quick Step).
2010 Tour of Belgium route:
Stage 1, Wednesday, May 26: Eeklo – Eeklo, 156.6 km
Stage 2, Thursday, May 27: Eeklo - Knokke-Heist, 162.7 km
Stage 3, Friday, May 28: Knokke-Heist – Mechelen, 192.2 km
Stage 4, Saturday, May 29: Herzele (ITT), 16.7 km
Stage 5, Sunday, May 30: Herstal – Herstal, 173.7 km