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Gallery: The sun shines on Tour of Flanders reconnaissance

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Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) makes his way across the cobbles of the Koppenberg

Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) makes his way across the cobbles of the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida)

Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The Lampre car squeezes through the steep embankments

The Lampre car squeezes through the steep embankments
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Cannondale on the Koppenberg

Cannondale on the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Thor Hushovd preview the Koppenberg

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Thor Hushovd preview the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Thor Hushvod (BMC) is "ready to SMASH the cobbles" on Sunday

Thor Hushvod (BMC) is "ready to SMASH the cobbles" on Sunday
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Daniel Oss (BMC)

Daniel Oss (BMC)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) previews the Koppenberg

Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) previews the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Flecha hunts down some amateurs on the Koppenberg

Flecha hunts down some amateurs on the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) shows the tourists how it's done on the Koppenberg

Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) shows the tourists how it's done on the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Lampre-Merida squeezes between the verges on the Koppenberg's narrowest point

Lampre-Merida squeezes between the verges on the Koppenberg's narrowest point
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Cannondale's Peter Sagan reminds himself of the pain of the Koppenberg

Cannondale's Peter Sagan reminds himself of the pain of the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Vacansoleil riders scout the Koppenberg

Vacansoleil riders scout the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) mixes in with a group of tourists scouting out the Koppenberg

Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) mixes in with a group of tourists scouting out the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Juan Antonio Flecha out training with his Vacansoleil teammate

Juan Antonio Flecha out training with his Vacansoleil teammate
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The Koppenberg

The Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The cobbles of the Koppenberg

The cobbles of the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Goss climbs up the Koppenberg

Goss climbs up the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge)

Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Lotto Belisol heads out for its Ronde van Vlaanderen recon

Lotto Belisol heads out for its Ronde van Vlaanderen recon
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Roelandts leaves his teammates behind on the Koppenberg

Roelandts leaves his teammates behind on the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Frederik Willems (Lotto Belisol) leads the way

Frederik Willems (Lotto Belisol) leads the way
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Marcus Burghard (BMC)

Marcus Burghard (BMC)
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Sebastian Hinault hits the top of the Paterberg

Sebastian Hinault hits the top of the Paterberg
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Jurgen Roelandts gives a demonstration of good cobble form

Jurgen Roelandts gives a demonstration of good cobble form
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Heinrich Haussler pre-rides the Paterberg

Heinrich Haussler pre-rides the Paterberg
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Former Belgian champion Jurgen Roelandts leads his Lotto teammates up the Koppenberg

Former Belgian champion Jurgen Roelandts leads his Lotto teammates up the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) is well known for not wearing gloves, no matter how cold it is.

Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) is well known for not wearing gloves, no matter how cold it is.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol) is a perennial Classics contender, always keen to be in the breakaway

Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol) is a perennial Classics contender, always keen to be in the breakaway
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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The Koppenberg is that-a-way

The Koppenberg is that-a-way
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The cobbles at the base of the Koppenberg

The cobbles at the base of the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) previews the Tour of Flanders course

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) previews the Tour of Flanders course
(Image credit: AFP Photo)

After weeks of battling ice and snow, the organisers of the Northern European classics can breathe a sigh of relief, because the forecast for Sunday's Tour of Flanders is at least clear if not warm.

The riders were still bundled up as they braved single digit temperatures on Thursday and Friday to preview the famed cobbled climbs of the Tour of Flanders: one of the most notable is the steeply pitched Koppenberg. While it comes only once in the race, it appears at a critical point in the 256.2km odyssey.

The rough berg comes with 64km to go, not long after the first trips up the Oude Kwarement on Paterberg. It gets steeper near the end of its 600m length, kicking up to a brutal 22% grade before levelling off. In a peloton of 200 riders, positioning is all important on the approach to this climb, as it also narrows to barely the width of the team cars that squeeze through. There are verges on each side, leaving little room to get around any crashes.

It is for this reason that the Koppenberg is one of the spots where the pros can be found training in the days leading up to De Ronde. In this gallery you can get a sense of the steepness, the irregular nature of the cobbles, and the beautiful fact that any amateur cyclist can test him or herself against the best in the world on the good Friday before the race.