Traditionally the Tour of Flanders finished in Meerbeke, and this short one kilometer climb was just 16 kilometers from the finish. The Muur van Geraardsbergen was the place where the Tour of Flanders is, more often than not, won or lost.
In 2007 pro cyclist Alessandro Ballan placed an attack on the Muur van Geraardsbergen and route to victory. But the win of Fabian Cancellara in 2010 is probably the one most discussed. Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen were both favorite to win the Tour of Flanders. They started the climb side by side. Tom Boonen, with the Belgian champion jersey around his shoulder, stands straight on his pedals trying to keep up with his big rival. At the end he is not able to keep up while Fabian Cancellara didn’t get out of the saddle at all. It’s a historic win and continues to be discussed by many. His smooth acceleration in the saddle on the Muur van Geraardsbergen makes people wonder if he had an electric motor hidden in his bike.
The Muur van Geraardsbergen was the place where the Tour of Flanders is, more often than not, won or lost
The Muur van Geraardsbergen is breathtaking in any sense of the word. The classic approach is from the Dender River. In total the climb is one kilometer with an average gradient of 8% and a maximum of 20%. The hardest part, which is a pitch close to the 20% mark, is quite near the top which lead you into the direction of the Chapel of Our Lady of Oudeberg. Ninety-two metres, that’s the total height you will gain. At first the cobbles are smooth, but this will change to more treacherous paving cobbles. The road of this climb is more like a medieval bridle way.
On top of the Muur van Geraardsbergen is café “‘t Hemelrijck”, a typical Flemish cafe known for its excellent selection of local beers. When visiting Geraardsbergen, you can simply not leave without having tasted the ‘mattentaart’. Devotedly prepared by the local baker, it’s a unique regional cake that enjoys great fame, even beyond the national borders. When you have had your refresment. Other mythical climbs nearby, and well known because of the Tour of Flanders, are the Paterberg and Koppenberg.