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Koppenberg being restored

Jesper Skibby

Jesper Skibby (Image credit: DCP/Bert Geerts)

The restored Koppenberg is waiting for the the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Work to repair the ancient cobblestone climb has been completed and cyclotourists can already sweat up the steep hill which has pitches up to 22 percent. The climb is most famous for the 1987 accident when race leader Jesper Skibby fell on the narrow road and almost got run over by race commissaire's car. To avoid blocking the approaching peloton, the commisaire had ordered his driver to press on, riding over Skibby's front wheel and narrowly missing his feet. Back then racers had pedal clips that were much harder to get out than today's clipless pedal technology.

The incident led to the abandonment of the Koppenberg in the Tour de Flanders for years. It reappeared in the 2000's, but was not included in this year's edition. Whether the Koppenberg will be used in the next Ronde Van Vlaanderen is not yet clear, but the city of Oudenaarde, the vicinity in which the climb lies, certainly wants it that way. Organizer Wim Van Herreweghe told Sportwereld that "Soon, we will test if it's reasonable to send the racers over the Koppenberg. We will also ask the opinion of ex-racers."

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