Vlaanderen’s Mooiste and the Tour de Flanders 2019 is back this April 7th in Belgium.
Sure it’s outshined by the Tour de France and other mainstream public events. But for legitimate cyclists, the Tour de Flanders is marked on the calendar in bold red. The 266-kilometer all-terrain race has a rich history stretching back over 100 different iterations is a true test of endurance and cycling technique.
Let’s look at the circuit and peek at the betting odds from top sites. As always, if you plan on taking action on your favorite riders do your due diligence and check this sportsbetting.ag review to compare outlets.
The Course and its Stages
There are 17 hills in this brutal circuit, spanning from slight to a leg burning 22% grade. In the near 267 kilometers, there are five paved sections but the star of this circuit is the infamous Belgian cobble.
The first 80 or so kilometers are fairly bland and we will mostly see a lot of pace setting and riders settling into the initial phases of their strategy. But after 80 kilometers it gets interesting. The first patches of cobbles hits and gives the riders their first bite of this uniquely challenging course.
After around 40 kilometers of gut jarring cobble intermixed with asphalt, Oude Kwaremont appears in Kluisbergen. The cobbled climb has an average gradient of 4.2% and maxes out with parts that hit 11%. Oude Kwaremont is actually a misnomer, it not the name of the hill, but the road leading up to it. The first half kilometer of the cobbled section is the most difficult. The cobbling is uneven and jagged and this takes place during the steepest section of the climb. Flemish decree classified these cobbles as monuments back in the early 90s, so you don’t have to worry about any repaving here, this challenging section is here to stay.
Another 50 or so kilometers takes the cyclists through Korteeker, Wolvenberg and then finally hits the pave cobble section at Holleweg. After various short and arduous climbs, the 170-kilometer mark ends at Ten Bosse, leading to the Wall of Geraardsbergen. The Muur van Geraardsbergen is a little over a kilometer long of steep and narrow climb at a brutal average gradient of 9.3% and sections that reach into the 20% range.
This beloved hill has been a constant in the Tour de Flanders since the 1970s but was excluded due to the logistics of Bruges race starts. Now that the circuit starts in Antwerp, its summit marks the fact that the cyclists have just 95 more kilometers to go and the most exciting sections of the race.
The riders circle back for a second attack on the Oude Kwaremont and eventually the Paterberg with gradients over 20% and a mind-numbing (and leg-numbing) average of 12.9%. After this, it’s a race for the finish!
Last year’s edition was taken by Niki Terpstra caught the leading group in the final 28 km after a magnificent effort on the Kruisberg. The Dutchman pulled ahead and won the race. But surprisingly, he isn’t this year’s odds-on favorite.
Terpstra is sitting at a cool +1160 (23/2). Peter Sagan is the favorite at most betting sites. HIs average price is a just +270 (or a little less than 3/1). Let’s look at the average odds for the top-10 athletes:
- Peter Saga (2.7/1)
- Greg Van Avermaet (4.3/1)
- Philippe Gilbert (9/2)
- Zdenek Stybar (23/2)
- Niki Terpstra (23/2)
- Oliver Naesen (15/1)
- Tiesjj Benoot (19/1)
- Michael Kwiatkowski (21/1
- Michael Mathews (21/1)
- Mathieu Van Der Poel (21/1)
Peter Sagan finished 6th last year. But Philipe Gilbert made the podium at 3rd and Greg Van Avermaet was in the mix at 5th. So with this year’s route, it is anyone’s race to win.