Ready to get totally cobbled?!
Probably the most famous one day cycling road race in the world (since 1913) takes place in Belgium every year at the beginning of April. The Tour of Flanders (Dutch: De Ronde van Vlaanderen) is without a doubt the most important cycling event in Belgium. You have the chance to ride these cobbled climbs with names like ‘De Muur’ and ‘De Koppenberg’ during your ultimate cycling experience. You get a special treatment on the day of the race (Sunday April 5) in the ‘Flemmish Ardennes’. Further on during this week you get acquainted with the Amstel Gold Race finale and become a VIP at Paris-Roubaix (which you will also be riding yourself off course). The cobbles in Belgium and the North of France won’t have many secrets for you anymore after these 10 days.
The Full Itinerary
On day one you’ll be travelling from the airport of your choice to Kerniel (Borgloon) in Limburg. Arriving here, you will have the opportunity to freshen up and have a quick bite before your first cycling kilometres in the region. Your bike will be prepared by us making sure you’re ready for a quick spin around Haspengouw (the Tuscany of Belgium). After a shower we will head off for a welcome drink before dinner.
On day two you will start off with an early gourmet breakfast at Café Coureur. After this ‘Belgian style breakfast’ we will roll out towards Antwerp for the start of The Tour of Flanders. You’ll see the teams being presented and get to know the gladiators of the day. A first Belgian beer might get you warmed for what is about to come. From Antwerp, it’s straight ahead towards ‘De Oude Kwaremont’ after a light lunch. The rest of the afternoon it’s Berendries, Koppenberg and of course Kapelmuur time. Around 16h45 you’ll know who won the 104th ‘Ronde van Vlaanderen’. Time to toast on the new heroic performance by the riders and travel back to Café Coureur for dinner.
After another solid breakfast, you can set off for a Café Coureur favourite ‘parcours’. Heading out in Haspengouw for some easy climbing in the region. You’ll get to know well known climbs like Hallembaye, Slingerberg en Muizenberg (Kanne). If you’re lucky you can meet Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin somewhere along the way as this is his training ground. After the Muizenberg it’s time to head back and ride home via one last gentle climb to your new ‘cycling home’.
The best known cycling classic in Holland is the Amstel Gold Race through hilly Limburg. You’re staying in the Belgian part of Limburg but the parcours of this ‘Ardennes Classic’ (although not in the Ardennes) is just around the corner. You can go by car to the start in Maastricht, to Valkenburg in the middle of the hills or you can start at Café Coureur for some extra kilometres. Anyway, time to oil up those legs as this one of the most underestimated Classic. Everybody recalls this year’s amazing comeback victory by Mathieu Vanderpoel. Now it’s up to you to tame the finale with the Cauberg, Camerig, Loorberg, Kruisberg and many more.
If you’re a hardliner and you like a real challenge, there’s also an alternative ride called ‘Limburgs Ergste’ (Limburgs Worst). A 168km long ride with 2211 Altitude meters.
Breakfast and a small ride to get those legs loose from yesterday’s effort. Then it’s time for a light lunch and off to see the finale of the 108th edition of ‘De Scheldeprijs’ in Schoten. Time to see some of the worlds best sprinters in action.
A day to remember… The day you’ll be riding the finale of ‘Vlaanderens mooiste’ (Flanders most beautiful) The Tour of Flanders. Get ready to ride 18 legendary climbs over 164km. We arrange transport for you to start at the ‘Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen’ in Oudenaarde and from there it’s off to the Wolvenberg, Berendries, Molenberg, De Muur, Koppenberg and many more… This is a route that combines the history of ‘De Ronde’ as the parcours of the legendary classic has changed several times over the years.
Breakfast, and back on the bike for a small trip before getting to know some local culture. With the oldest city in Belgium (Tongeren) nearby and shopping spots like Maastricht and Hasselt there’s plenty of choice to spend a nice long afternoon. Visiting a brewery or a coffee-roasting factory (Monx) is also an option. You name it, we got it.
A day in the saddle to discover the Ardennes by riding the finale of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. First run in 1892, it is the oldest of the five Monuments of the European professional road cycling calendar, usually coming as the last of the spring classics. The most successful rider with five victories is Belgian rider Eddy Merckx and that probably says it all. Liège–Bastogne–Liège is considered one of the most arduous one-day races in the world because of its length and succession of steep climbs. You start in Aywaille for 121km with 3404m of climbing. Be prepared to attack the Col de Rosier, Col de Stockeu (Eddy’s favourite!), côte de Wanne and the côte de la Redoute amongst others. This is where heroes are made!
A special day… Yes, another one. Today you’ll get a full VIP treatment at the Paris-Roubaix classic. And we do mean VIP. You get an early breakfast and transport to Compiègne where you’ll see the team presentation and start of the race. After a light lunch you’ll get to see the riders passing by at several cobble sections and taste the dust. You’ll be in the middle of the race and at the vélodrome in Roubaix to see the sprint for glory. A day to remember!
Time to say goodbye after breakfast and get you back to catch your flight home. Of course, there’s also the possibility to do a last spin around Café Coureur if you have an afternoon transfer.