Kapelmuur – Iconic Climb
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.
Found in the Belgian city of Geraardsbergen, the climb rises 100m, with a cobbled surface making the gradient feel even tougher. What makes the climb such a focal point and easy to recognise when watching the racing, is the domed chapel at the summit. The thousands of cycling fans that congregate on the climb’s corners also make the climb iconic. 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 and this has seen the likes of Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen dominate it over the last ten years. 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/Kapelmuur
The climb also featured in the 2014 edition of Omloop het Nieuwsblad where Ian Stannard beat local favourite Greg van Avermaet to the line by centimetres. Greg Van Avermaet outsprinted Peter Sagan for the win in 2016.
Each of these riders rely 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, allowing heavier riders a chance.