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Wim De Vocht (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) on the Molenberg during the 2009 Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Official route to be unveiled on Wednesday evening
The route of the 2010 Ronde van Vlaanderen will be officially unveiled on Wednesday night, with race organisers expected to re-shuffle the cobbled climbs in the finale of the race.
According to a report in the Flemish Het Nieuwsblad newspaper, the Molenberg climb will move from being the first climb of the race to 14th place this year, replacing the Eikenmolen as the climb prior to the often decisive Kapelmuur and the Bosberg climbs.
Local mayor Marc De Braekeleer has already confirmed to Belgian radio station Radio MIG that the Eikenmolen will be replaced.
Once again, the race is expected to start in Bruges and finish in Meerbeke, in the municipality of Ninove. However, Nieuwsblad suggests that the new race route may also include a section of the Belgian coast. The Flemish semi-Classic Gent-Wevelgem traditionally visits the same section of the country's west coast, where crosswinds could spark echelons and create another challenge for the Ronde peloton.
The popular Ronde van Vlaanderen sportive ride held the day before the men’s and women’s professional races are expected to follow the new route.
Nieuwsblad explains that the changes have been made because of the approach to Molenberg. The riders face a 90-degree turn at the foot of the climb which in the past has caused crashes and delays. In the new route, the cobbled Molenberg could be an early launch pad for a decisive attack before the Muur-Kapelmuur.
However, the new finale will not please everybody. Quick Step’s Stijn Devolder used the asphalted Eikenmolen to launch an attack before time trialling to the finish and victory in both the 2008 and 2009 editions of the event. He will have come up with a new strategy if he wants to become the first rider since Italy's Fiorenzo Magni to secure a hat-trick of victories in the Flemish Classic. Magni secured successive wins in 1949, 1950 and 1951.
This year’s Ronde van Vlaanderen will take place on Sunday, April 4.