The BinckBank Tour 2019 starts on Monday 12th August and will cross Belgium and The Netherlands over the course of seven days. The only multi-day UCI WorldTour competition in the Low Countries is in its 15th edition and is the tour par excellence for spring season one-day racers. They will experience a spectacular Ardennes race in Houffalize this year, an energetic time trail in The Hague and a final stage through the Flemish Ardennes to really get their teeth into!
Little has changed in the BinckBank Tour's DNA: this tour remains the only one in which the classic single-day cyclists can be on track for the overall victory. The proof is in the list of victories for outstanding cyclists such as Niki Terpstra, Tim Wellens, Zdenek Stybar, Lars Boom and Tom Dumoulin. Once again this year, the course offers all the elements that cycling countries The Netherlands and Belgium are famous for: from flat sectors for sprinters, to a time trial for really strong riders, to fierce climbs in the Ardennes and the Muur and other famous ascents in the Flemish Ardennes that can make or break the ranking.
FROM BEVEREN TO GERAARDSBERGEN
With a Grand Départ in Beveren and arrival several kilometres down the road in Hulst, the first stage will meander the whole time through the border region of Belgium and Zealand, through the communities of the Linieland and along the Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe amongst others. This is followed by two flat sectors on Tuesday and Wednesday in West and East-Flanders, which offer a chance for a strong break away or an exciting sprint. The stage in Aalter on Wednesday is a fitting tribute to the hundredth anniversary of the original Flandrien Briek Schotte three times crossing the tough cobblestones past Briek's statue in Kanegem.
On Thursday, Houffalize sets the stage for a unique, compressed ride of the Ardennes: just short of 100 kilometres, consisting of three rounds, each one with a steep climb of the Bois des Moines and Saint-Roch, the annual opening climb in Liège-Bastogne- Liège. However, the rest of the stage is never really flat either. It is an arduous task for the peloton, and a wonderful spectacle for the fans of cycling on a Belgian public holiday. On Friday, the peloton starts in Riemst, but then returns to The Netherlands where the finish is in Venray.
Saturday, the clock is set in The Hague for the individual time trials over 8.5 kilometres in the heart of the Dutch residence. With a number of long stretches of straight roads, this race against the clock is cut out for the specialist and the really strong rider; not least world hour record holder Victor Campenaerts who is hoping to be able to race at 55 km/hr. here too...
The final stage mainly centres on the Flemish Ardennes. After starting in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, the ride goes via the Berendries, Leberg, Valkenberg and Ten Bosse to the local course, which takes in the climb of the duo Muur-Bosberg four times. As in previous years, the finish is on the Vesten, at the foot of the Muur of Geraardsbergen. That is where the winner of the 15th BinckBank Tour will be revealed to us!