Effective this year, the city of Geraardsbergen with its famous Muur will be the host of an Eneco Tour stage for five years. This way, the legendary climb which was abandoned by the Tour of Flanders organisers last year is certain to have its place in pro cycling through the annual stage race taking place in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The agreement between race organisers and city hall representatives includes a clause assuring the Wall of Geraardsbergen an important role in the finale of each stage, and the town will be the race's final overall finish no less than three times.
This year's race, which takes place from August 5-12 and will see the return to racing of Grand Tour champion Alberto Contador, features a final stage from Maldegem to Geraardsbergen that will finish on a circuit involving the Muur climb twice, and an uphill finish on the flanks of it, the renovated Vesten road (the start of the climb).
Town mayor Guido De Padt was happy about the return of a World Tour event to his city. "Last year the Tour of Flanders scrapped us from its route altogether. We had to do something. So the proposal of Eneco Tour organiser Rob Discart was godsend. On top of the circuit road finish, we also have a time trial planned," he told HLN.be.