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"This course won't lie. The strongest will always prevail. After 100km, the hill zone starts and it continues right to the finish. That will create fatigue and stress which characterizes De Ronde."

Photo: Sirotti

EDDY MERCKX

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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RONDE VAN VLAANDEREN

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SEP VANMARCKE

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26.11.2014 @ 16:40 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Yesterday the course for the 99th Tour of Flanders was unveiled. The difficult finale was retained but the organizers added the Tiegemberg and Berendries, meaning that the total number of hellingen will be 19. "It's definitely harder than before," said Eddy Merckx.

 

 

Immediately after the unveiling, Omega Pharma-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere criticized the race organizers. Eddy Merckx has a more posive approach.

 

"In my time, the courses were bad," said Merckx in Het Nieuwsblad. "There were a lot more cobblestones. "I remember when we skipped and is now a lot easier.

 

"In 1969, I rode the last seventy kilometers alone in the lead, despite the strong wind. There were no more climbs so I had to attack from afar. Now you have enough places to make a difference."

 

Merckx is also satisfied that the final, with the Koppenberg, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, was retained. 

 

"I would have preferred to race now. It's definitely harder than before. The combination of the last two climbs is very difficult. They should keep the finale as it is now. You can not experiment too much wiht a classic."

 

Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke were equally positive.

 

 

"It's a beautiful route," Van Avermaet said. "In recent years, they have been looking for the right formula and it has now been found. Two years ago we still did laps. Now we rider more point-to-point. There should be no more experiments. Otherwise, it will no longer be the Tour of Flanders."

 

"This course won't lie," Vanmarcke added. "The strongest will always prevail. After 100km, the hill zone starts and it continues right to the finish. That will create fatigue and stress which characterizes De Ronde."

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