New route for the Tour of Flanders unveiled

The 2012 Ronde van Vlaanderen will not be including the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen climb in 2012 after race organisers announced that they have designed a new finale for the race, which will now finish in Oudenaarde instead of Meerbeke, where it has ended since 1973. Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-SunGard) won this year's race.

Next year, the finale of one of the sports most spectacular classics will include the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg. Both climbs are set to be covered three times on a final circuit - with the Paterberg as the last ascent before the finish in Oudenaarde, 13km before the finish.

In previous editions the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg were some of the first cobbled climbs and proved critical for separating the favourites from the field, but the Muur has always been the iconic attack point. The new positioning will give the Paterberg much greater importance, making it a possible launch pad to victory.

"With Oudenaarde as a finish, the route of the Ronde van Vlaanderen will be completely different in the finale," the director of the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen in Oudenaarde, Rik Vanwalleghem, told Het Nieuwsblad.

The 2012 edition of "Vlaanderen's Mooiste" will start with a typically flat 90 kilometers, followed by the Nokereberg, Taaienberg, Eikenberg, Molenberg, Rekelberg, Berendries and Valkenberg climbs before the threre finial circuits. The finish will be located on Minderbroederstraat close to the city centre of Oudenarde.

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