This series looking at Strava leaderboards now turns to the action in Belgium, where the spring classics season is under way. Greg Van Avermaet, Philipe Gilbert, Michal Kwiatkowski and Peter Sagan are among the riders in top form ahead of the Tour of Flanders, not forgetting former winners Tom Boonen, Alexander Kristoff and Stijn Devolder. This year’s race includes 18 climbs, finishing with a loop that takes in six famous ascents in the last 50km. Will the pros to be setting KOMs on these Hellingens?
Making the top 10 on any leaderboard, towards the end of a 260km race, sounds like a tall order. KOMs are more likely to fall on longer faster climbs where riders can benefit from drafting in a group. In fact the riders will be climbing the Oude-Kwaremont three times and the Paterberg twice, so the top times are more at risk on those two, if someone decides to make a strong attack. The weather forecast is good: sunny, about 16°C, with a light breeze from the WNW. The wind will be against the riders on the Taaienberg, but it will provide a small benefit on the other final hills, which happen to be ridden in directions between East and South.
Surface: Cobbles, Distance: 444m, Avg Grade: 14.3%, Elevation Gain: 64m, Bearing: 104°
|1||Reinardt Janse van Rensburg||00:01:27||19-Feb-14||–|
|2||Joris Van Der Auwera||00:01:28||01-Jan-10||–|
|7||Korneel De Viaene||00:01:34||06-Aug-15||–|
|7||Korneel De Viaene||00:01:34||06-Aug-15||–|
Pro rider van Rensburg holds the KOM up the Koppenberg, set on a pre-race recce. Dries Devenyns is not far behind, but none of the top ten times appear to have been set in races. Although there will be a weak tailwind, it seems unlikely that a new record will be set in this year’s Tour of Flanders.
Surface: Cobbles, Distance: 724m, Avg Grade: 2.8%, Elevation Gain: 24m, Bearing: 121°
|1||Niki Terpstra Racing||00:01:22||01-Apr-15||–|
|2||Jasper Stuyven||00:01:25||06-Apr-13||Flanders U23|
|2||Lawson Craddock||00:01:25||06-Apr-13||Flanders U23|
|7||Pierre-Henri LECUISINIER||00:01:28||06-Apr-13||Flanders U23|
|7||Marcus Burghardt||00:01:28||02-Apr-15||Three Days of De Panne|
|9||Michael Schär||00:01:29||02-Apr-15||Three Days of De Panne|
Two riders made the top ten in the 2015 edition of the Three Days of De Panne and three others in the Flanders Under 23 race in 2013. We can also see quick times in recce rides by Terpstra in 2015, Kwiatkowski, last year, and Steels this week. There’s a chance this KOM could go on Sunday.
Surface: Cobbles, Distance: 639m, Avg Grade: 7.8%, Elevation Gain: 46m, Bearing: 262°
|1||Daniel Oss||00:01:12||25-Mar-16||E3 Harelbeke|
|2||Jasper Stuyven||00:01:13||25-Feb-17||Omloop Het Nieuwsblad|
|3||Edward Theuns||00:01:14||25-Feb-17||Omloop Het Nieuwsblad|
|3||Greg Van Avermaet||00:01:14||24-Mar-17||E3 Harelbeke|
|6||Wesley Van Dyck 2090874575184||00:01:15||28-Mar-17||Three Days of De Panne|
|7||Arnaud Demare||00:01:16||22-Mar-17||Dwars door Vlaanderen|
|7||Johnny Cecotto||00:01:16||22-Mar-17||Dwars door Vlaanderen|
|9||Bryan Coquard||00:01:17||24-Mar-17||E3 Harelbeke|
This is another segment that is dominated by the pros and tends to be smashed in races. The problem is that there will be a slight headwind, so this KOM will probably hold on Sunday.
Surface: Asphalt, Distance: 1813m, Avg Grade: 4.9%, Elevation Gain: 89m, Bearing: 142°
|1||Daniel Lloyd||00:04:03||03-Apr-11||Tour of Flanders|
|2||Cor ~~||00:04:05||03-Apr-11||Tour of Flanders|
|3||davide COM||00:04:06||03-Apr-11||Tour of Flanders|
|4||Jeremy Cameron Ⓥ||00:04:24||29-Jun-16||–|
|7||dylan de kok||00:05:03||21-Feb-14||–|
The KOM is held by GCN‘s Daniel Lloyd, set in the Tour of Flanders in 2011, in very similar weather conditions. The three leading times stand a long way ahead of the rest. It will be very interesting to see how the current pros perform on this climb. Daniel’s time could be at risk.
Surface: Cobbles, Distance: 2509m, Avg Grade: 3.6%, Elevation Gain: 91m, Bearing: 163°
|1||Niki Terpstra Racing||00:04:55||25-Mar-16||E3 Harelbeke|
|2||Daniel Oss||00:04:58||25-Mar-16||E3 Harelbeke|
|3||Tiesj Benoot||00:04:59||25-Mar-16||E3 Harelbeke|
|4||Nikolas Maes||00:05:01||23-Mar-16||Dwars door Vlaanderen|
|5||Michal Kwiatkowski||00:05:02||25-Mar-16||E3 Harelbeke|
|6||Scott Thwaites||00:05:04||23-Mar-16||Dwars door Vlaanderen|
|7||Greg Van Avermaet||00:05:06||28-Feb-16||Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne|
|8||Oliver Naesen||00:05:07||24-Mar-17||E3 Harelbeke|
|9||Stijn Vandenbergh Racing||00:05:08||28-Mar-14||E3 Harelbeke|
The leaderboard of segment is packed with pro racing performances, led once again by Niki Terpstra. With the last ascent coming at a crucial time in this year’s Tour of Flanders, the KOM could fall again.
Surface: Cobbles, Distance: 358m, Avg Grade: 11.7%, Elevation Gain: 42m, Bearing: 96°
|6||Merten De Wever||00:00:57||06-May-15||–|
This short, steep climb seems to be the target of specific KOM hunters. None of the top ten times were set in the big races. Although this will be the final place to attack in this year’s race, the riders will be fatigued by 247km of tough roads. The top time is likely to hold firm, especially if barriers are used to block smoother edges of the road.
KOMs to hold: Paterberg, Koppenberg, Taaienberg
KOMs at risk: Kruisberg, Oude-Kwaremont, Steenbeekdries
Watch out Dan!