Eneco Tour embraces the Mur de Grammont
From this year onwards, the city of Geraardsbergen (west of Brussels) will be the host of a Eneco Tour stage for five years. The organisation of the only UCI World Tour Leg in Belgium and the Netherlands sealed an agreement during a press conference at Grammont City Hall.
Each time the Mur de Grammont / Muur van Geraardsbergen will play an important rôle in the finale of the stage. This year the Mur/Muur will be taken on twice after which the start needs to be climbed for a third time, with a finish on the old city walls, the 'vesten'.
"This way we ensure excitement until the very end," Rob Discart says, Director of Professional Cycling Golazo Sports and organiser of the Eneco Tour. "We also meet the call for arrivals closer to the last climb of the day. Grammont has what it takes: the Mur/Muur itself, but also the beautiful uphill arrival on the renewed vests.
Mayor of Grammont Guido De Padt is pleased the long cycling tradition of the Mur/Muur continues. "A large multi-day cycling event with an exciting finale on the slopes of the Mur/Muur, that most certainly will trigger celebrations in our city. The people, the restaurants and bars, and tourism in general can only benefit from this."
This year the Eneco Tour will be held from 6 to 12 August. The queen's stage into Geraardsbergen starts in Maldegem, another East-Flemish community with cycling tradition. Maldegem already was the start location of a stage in the 2007 and 2008 Eneco Tour, it organised the Belgian championships for professionals in 2002 and hosts the annual international cyclocross race early February.
The course for the final stage of this year is pretty much known already. In Maldegem, a local lap will be concluded by an intermediate sprint. Then the stage crosses the Flemish Ardennes. The peloton faces a.o. the Kwaremont, the Paterberg, the Eikenberg, the Kruisberg and the Mont Saint-Laurent, just across the provincial border in Hainaut. After about 120 kilometers the riders will reach Geraardsbergen and take in a few local laps there, including the Mur/Muur. The stage finishes on the 'vesten'.