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The most fabulous of all Flemish festivals

The Tour of Flanders is our highlight of the year
The Tour of Flanders, or better, ‘Flanders’ finest’. One of the five Monuments in modern day cycling. But definitely our number 1, our highlight of the year. The day Belgium is standing still and all inhabitants join the celebration of the most fabulous of all Flemish festivals. The Tour of Flanders has become a metaphor of Belgian citizens. ‘Hard-working, struggling men in a constant battle with the elements’, as once described by co-founder Karel Van Wijnendaele.

The roots of the race goes back to 1913 when 37 riders took part in the 324 kilometer long first edition that started in the center of Ghent and finished more than 12 hours later on the velodrome of Mariakerke. World War I put a stop to the development of the race, but it wasn’t long after the restart that it quickly became the most important race in Flanders. It was at a time when only the major roads that connected the most important cities got paved with cobbles. Those little rocks were the cheapest way of putting some stability under vehicles’ tires in the beginning of the 20th century.
Popularity grew fast, police reports of the early 1930’s described crowds of more than 500.000 people strong alongside the roads. For an international breakthrough the Tour of Flanders had to wait for a change of date on the cycling calendar in 1948. Until 1947 the race was ridden on the same day as Milano – San Remo, but from that year more and more foreigners took part in the race. In 1962, the finish line moved to suburban Gentbrugge because of ever raising spectator numbers. Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported an ‘impression of drawning in a tsunami’.

The early 70’s opposed the organization to an external treat. Due to technological advancements cobbled roads got replaced by tarmac which made the race a lot less demanding. From then on the transfer to the Flemish Ardennes was made. The cobbled climbs that define the race as we know it today got introduced in that period.
The ‘Muur van Geraardsbergen’, probably the most famous Flanders’ climb, got a consistent spot on the race map in the seventies. The Koppenberg, a beast with grades up to 22% and often seen as a natural arena with its high banking on either sides, was firstly climbed in 1976. The organization found the climb after a hint from Walter Godefroot, who won the Tour two times. The cobbled road was so hard to ride that many cyclists had to step off their bike. Two times world champion Freddy Maertens even was disqualified in 1977 after a bike change which the organizers considered illegal. Nevertheless, he rode further to the finish line with Roger De Vlaeminck in his wheel, who won the race partly to Maertens’ efforts. Between 1987 and 2001 the Koppenberg climb was even considered too hard when it was skipped from the race. After restauration the Koppenberg was again included in 2002. The Paterberg offers another typical Flemish story. The 20% top climb was unpaved until 1986, but its cycling mad owner surfaced it with cobbles because he wanted cycling races to pass his property.
Cobblestones have become a cornerstone of Flemish identity and therefore protected with a mark of Flemish cultural heritage. The Tour of Flanders is our highlight of the year, and many riders feel the same because of the massive crowds alongside the road and the race’s identity as a contest of perseverance. This year’s race includes almost 21 kilometer of cobbles and 18 climbs. Former pro George Hincapie, who finished Flanders no more than a record 17 times, described the Tour of Flanders as “being unlike any other bike race in the world. It’s, without question, the hardest one-day bike race ever created. What seems like a million corners, combined with twenty to thirty steep pitches and narrow roads, none of which go the same direction for more than a mile, all mix together to make it war on a bike. Flanders may as well be a different sport.”
Since 1999 a Gran Fondo for recreational cyclists is organized on the pro’s route as well. Everyone can discover the hardness of the Tour of Flanders themselves, but due to its worldwide popularity a maximum of 16 000 riders is allowed, from more than half of which comes from foreign countries.

This Sunday the festivities start again. We can’t wait any longer.  

Discover the Fenix SL Disc Classics, our limited edition Classics bike

Photos in Detail
Description
About the Fenix range
Our Fenix is the quintessential “all-round” bike. It offers the perfect blend between performance, weight, strength, stiffness and especially comfort for long days in the saddle. Its unique diamond shape tubing creates reinforced edges for a robust frame with increased impact-resistance.

For these reasons, it is the top choice for our Lotto-Soudal pro men when tackling the Spring Classics. It is lightweight and stiff with built-in comfort to handle the roughest of terrains. While this bike expertly handles top competition, it is also perfectly suited for the part-time racer or recreational rider in terms of performance, comfort and cost.

Compatible with both mechanical and electronic shifting.

About the Fenix SL Disc Classics
This bike is temporarily offered as a limited edition spec’d with a Deda Zero100 handlebar, stem and seatpost and a Selle Italia SLS Team Edition Saddle. The Forza R45-19c full carbon wheels and Vittoria Corsa 25c tires will keep you at speed on that demanding cobble section.

The frame got a team edition paint job to make you feel like a pro when you ride your Classics Gran Fondo the day prior to the pros or when scouting the terrain during your training ride in the Flemish Ardennes.

But there’s more. You have the advantage the pros can’t use: disc brakes. The Fenix SL Disc Classics is ready to conquer everything in its path, no matter the weather conditions or terrain. The lowered seatstays that compensate for the absence of caliper brake bridge increase the frame’s stiffness for that extra boost in power-transfer. 
Specifications
Frame 
Fenix SL Disc, 30T-24T HM UD Carbon, 12mm TA, flatmount
Fork
Fenix SL Disc, 30T-24T HM UD Carbon, 12mm TA, flatmount
Shifters
Shimano Ultegra
Brakes
Shimano Ultegra
Front derailleur
Shimano Ultegra
Rear derailleur
Shimano Ultegra
Cassette
Shimano 105 11/28
Chain
KMC x11
Crankset
Rotor 3D+ 52/36

Wheels
Forza R45-19c
Tires
Vittoria Corsa 25c
Handlebar
Deda Zero100
Stem
Deda Zero100
Saddle
Selle Italia SLS Team Edition
Seatpost
Deda Zero100
Geometry

XXS
(48)
Frame 
XS
(51)
Frame 
Small
(54)
Frame 
Medium
(57)
Frame
Large
(60)
Frame
XL (63) Frame
Body Length Item
<162cm
162-170cm
170-178cm
178-186cm 
186-194cm
>194cm
A: Max Saddle Height
745
775
805
835
865
895
B: Seat Tube, C-T
450
480
510
540
570
600
C: Top Tube Length, Horizontal
515
525
545
565
585
600
D: Head Tube Length
107
127
142
172
202
227
E: Seat Tube Angle
75,0
74,0
73,5
73,0
72,5
72,5
F: Head Tube Angle
71,8
72,0 73,0 73,5 73,5 74,0
G: ChainStay Length
410
410
410
410
413
413
H: BB Drop
68
68
66 66 63 63
I: Wheelbase
975
975
982
992
1010 1019
J: StandOver Height
740
765
789
820
850
878
S: Stack
507
527 542 573 599 624
R: Reach 379 374 384 392 396 403
Show me where I can find it!