This spring, for the 11th edition of Gent-Wevelgem, the women’s field will race 159 kilometres, 17km longer than the last edition, taking in a double ascent of the Kemmelberg.
A week later at Tour of Flanders, now in its 19th year, the riders will cover 158.5km and will pass over the Koppenberg for the first time.
This past year route details were kept under wraps, with spectators not permitted access on climbs or on cobbled sectors with organisers taking steps to minimise COVID-19 risks in the region. Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) held off a charging peloton to win Gent-Wevelgem, while Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) attacked on the final climb to conquer Tour of Flanders.
Gent-Wevelgem is the fifth stop on the Women’s WorldTour calendar next spring, with the race departing at 1:50 p.m. local time from under the Menin Gate in Ypres on March 27, a new start that began in 2019. The route will head to De Moeren and will encounter a traditionally windy stretch en route to Wevelgem, organisers noted in their announcement.
From the Monteberg, the ascent of the Kemmelberg will take riders up the Belvédère side. Then the route will follow a sequence of climbs similar to last year of the Scherpenberg and Baneberg, and lead up the steeper Ossuaire side of the Kemmelberg, which is on the menu again for the men’s race.
The final 54 kilometers will be identical for both the men and women on the Vanackerestraat in Wevelgem, with no major changes noted in the men's 249-kilometer route. Organisers noted there will once again be a live broadcast of the women’s final.
The last editions for women and men saw organisers add 1.1 kilometres to total distances of the races when a fire in the city of Menen required a reroute. The late-race detours, announced with 90km to go in the men’s race and prior to the start of the women’s race, did not significantly impact outcomes as both routes ended as planned in Wevelgem.
The top riders of the women's peloton will line up again on April 3 for the pinnacle of the cobbled Classics, Tour of Flanders. Once racing begins at 1:25 p.m. local time, riders will make a loop to pass over the Markt in Oudenaarde, like the men’s contest, and then head for the hills and an inaugural encounter of the Koppenberg.
From the passage over the Koppenberg, an identical final to that of the men awaits in the last 45 kilometers. After the 22 per cent incline at the Koppenberg, the route will roll through Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg and Kruisberg/Hotond, with the women sharing the same 45 kilometres to the finish on the Minderbroedersstraat in Oudenaarde.
The one-two punch of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg climbs will lead to the final. Like last year, the men’s route will be unchanged, with a start in Antwerp and cover 272.5 kilometres.
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