The Muur van Geraardsbergen aka Kapelmuur
Kapelmuur (also known as the Muur van Geraardsbergen) was for many years, the most iconic climb in the Tour of Flanders. Positioned as the penultimate climb, it was often a springboard for attacks that saw winners get lucky. It was taken off the route for the Tour of Flanders to much derision but reappeared in 2016. It has often featured in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad instead, making sure that this iconic climb is still raced on. The current Omloop route (2019) sees riders race Kapelmuur ahead of the Bosberg. With the finish line just 10km further on.
Found in the Belgian city of Geraardsbergen, the climb rises 100 metres. The cobbled surface makes the gradient feel even tougher. The domed chapel at the summit makes the climb such a focal point. It also makes it easy to recognise when watching the racing. The thousands of cycling fans that congregate on the climb’s corners also make the climb iconic with the atmosphere. It has often been the point for winning attacks in races when it has featured.
The climb suits powerful riders due to its short length. This has seen the likes of Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen dominate it before their retirements. Going back a couple more years, Belgian favourite Johan Museeuw would often crest Kapelmuur first.
The climb lasts for 1075 metres with an average gradient of 9.3%. The peak gradient tops out at a brutal 19.8%.
Races that feature the Muur van Geraardsbergen
The climb also featured in the 2014 edition of Omloop het Nieuwsblad. Ian Stannard managed to beat local favourite Greg van Avermaet to the line by just centimetres. Greg Van Avermaet outsprinted Peter Sagan for the win in 2016.
Each of these riders relies on huge bursts of power to reach the summit quickly. Those considered as more traditional climbers often struggle with the battering they receive from the cobbles. The heavier riders with extra power stand more of a chance.