Testing your legs with your fellow bikers, exploring the final of Saturday’s marathon ride at your own pace, and going all out three times to secure a good starting position for the weekend: that is our Friday ride in a nutshell. Your time will only be recorded in the so-called ‘specials’ (three short, explosive time trials of a few kilometres). During the non-chronographed connecting strips in between, you ride at your own pace, without time pressure. The total time of the three specials determines your stage result – and thus your starting position on Saturday.
What to expect along the road? Specials that contain lots of mountain biking. In the first one you will get to digest the infamous ‘rock garden’ of the Flemish Ardennes: the Leo Pironpad. Special 2 is new, and one for the climbers: you conquer a very steep side of the Taaienberg and shoot through the gateway to the Flemish Ardennes to one of the highest points in the region. Climbing goats will continue to get their money’s worth: in the long connecting strip after the second special, the altimeters pile up quickly on the long ridge of the Hotondberg: here, you’ll ride the final of Saturday’s stage, the perfect reconnaissance for those aiming for a good result!
But save your strength for the return to the Kluisbos because the last special is the toughest of all three specials, and more than likely decisive for the stage result: a demanding final awaits in the Kluisbos, on private roads specially opened for the weekend. Who will clock the fastest time at the finish in our event zone and take the first leader’s jersey?