2017 sees the 101st edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen (or Tour of Flanders in English), one of cycling's legendary Spring Classics. The day before the pros battle it out a sportive is held to allow the public to share the experience of riding the famous cobbles. Those thinking of riding Vlaanderens mooiste ("Flanders' finest") had best be prepared for some serious endurance riding. For a taste of what to expect, read our report on riding the 2014 sportive here and check out our tips for first-time Flandriens.

2017 sees a couple of changes to the recipe, the most major of which is a new start location in Antwerp for cyclists riding the 237km and 200km long routes.

In addition a new distance has been added for 2017, so that riders can now choose from four options: 237km, 200km, 141km, and 74km.

Each route features a generous helping of the trademark Belgian cobblestones to tackle. How tough the route is depends largely on the weather - it can be anywhere from close to freezing to 18 degrees in Belgium in early April and bad weather can make the Tour of Flanders pretty tough for even highly experienced riders.

Entries for the RvV Sportive are now on sale at http://www.sport.be/werideflanders/2017/en/.

There are feed stations roughly every 30km along the route, stocked with energy bars, waffles and fruit (mainly bananas and orange segments).

You may want to fit new bottle cages to your bike that will hold your bottles tightly over the cobbled sections - although it is nothing like Paris Roubaix in terms of roughness of surface plenty of riders in previous years have said they lost bottles thanks to having plastic lightweight bottle holders or carbon ones that simply didn't grip tightly enough.

Cobbled highlights to look forward to include:

  • Molenberg: Molenberg, Zwalm. Climbs 32m from 24m to 56m. Maximum 17 per cent.
  • Oude Kwaremont: Broekstraat, Kwaremontplein, Schilderstraat, Kluisbergen. Climbs 93m from 18m to 111m. Maximum 11 per cent.
  • Koppenberg: Steengat, Koppenberg, Oudenaarde-Melden. Climbs 64m from 13m to 77m; Maximum 25 per cent at inside of bend, otherwise 22 per cent.
  • Taaienberg: Taaienberg, Maarkedal-Etikhove. Climbs 45m from 37m to 82m. Maximum 18 per cent.
  • Berg ter Stene: Stene, Horebeke. Climbs 68m from 32m to 100m. Maximum 9 per cent.
  • Leberg: Leberg, Brakel-Zegelsem. Climbs 39m from 60m to 9m. Maximum 15 per cent.
  • Berendries: Berendries, Brakel-Sint-Maria-Oudenhove. Climbs 65m from 33m to 98m. Maximum 14 per cent.
  • Valkenberg: Valkenbergstraat, Brakel-Nederbrakel. Climbs 53m from 45m to 98m. Maximum 15 per cent.
  • Muur-Kapelmuur: Abdijstraat, Ouderbergstraat, Oudeberg, Gerardsbergen. Climbs 77m from 33m to 110m. Maximum 20 per cent.
  • Bosberg: Kapellestraat, Geraardsbergen-Moerbeke. Climbs 40m from 65m to 105m. Maximum 11 per cent.
  • Tenbosse: Olifantstraat, Brakel. Climbs 28m from 45m to 73m. Maximum 14 per cent.

If you go to ride this event make sure you book yourself into the hotel long enough to experience the pro riders in the actual Tour of Flanders the next day. This is the race that stops Belgium...when Fabian Cancellara won in 2014, 85.7% of the population of the country watched his victory either live or on television!

At a Glance
  • 01 Apr 2017 7:00am
  • Tickets Sold Out
  • Tour of Flanders Sportive 2017Tour of Flanders Sportive 2017Oudenaarde, Flanders, Belgium
  • Up to 237 km (147 miles)
  • From 35.00 EUR
  • 16000 Riders