Day 01 – Arrival
Arrival in Brussels Charleroi. Participants will find our shuttle bus that will take them and their bikes to Valkenburg (about 1h10’ by car), in Limburg, the most southern and greenest and hilly region of The Netherlands.
Four editions of the Road Cycling World Championship took place here: 1938, 1948, 1979 and 1998.
Overnight stay at the B&B and Brasserie la Saga & More.
Reception dinner at the local “Amstel Gold Race bar” pub, with bikes and memorabilia of some cycling champions.
Throughout the day it will be possible to arrange your bike and try the rental bikes (for those who request them).
Day 02 – STAGE 01 – 65 km – 850 m – Valkenburg-Valkenburg
65km stage with start and finish in Valkenburg. You ride the final and most exciting part of the Amstel Gold Race, facing some of its most famous climbs: Geulhemerberg, Kloosterberg, Adsteeg, Midweg, Fromberg Sibbergrubbe and Cauberg.
Limburg’s charm is in its green hills, but perhaps few know that one of them is an artificial hill. The Wihelminaberg, in Landgraaf, is made up of material extracted from the mines that were active here from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the second half of the last century, and which have constituted the greatest wealth of the territory for decades. Now from those same hills you can admire a landscape that no longer tastes like a mine, but which has become a tourist destination appreciated by bike lovers and beyond.
The Dutch jokingly say that Limburg … borders on everything. In fact, from here there are two pedal strokes to get to Belgium and Germany and so in one day you can train in three different states.
Day 03 – STAGE 02 – 94 km – 1.410 m – Valkenburg to Liège
Second stage, from Valkenburg to Liège, 94km. We cycle south-southwest, leave The Netherlands and enter Belgium. About halfway through the tour, we pass Hervé, the starting point for the Flèche Wallonne.
Hervè is also renowned for its rind washed soft cheese and its “Cavalcade”, a horse parade held on Easter Monday.
Then we continue towards Remouchamps, the southernmost point of the stage, and from there we go up north, towards Liège, facing the last 35km of the Classic. We cycle on the three most popular côtes: Côte de la Redoute, Côte des Forges and Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.
It is the stage with the biggest altitude difference (1410 meters).
Overnight stay in Liege.
Free day off in Liège. For those who want, pedaling is possible alone or with a guide, in the region north of Liège.
The historic center of Liege is characterized by many buildings dating back to Romanesque or medieval times, such as the neo-Gothic Palazzo dei Principi-Vescovi, the monumental place Saint-Lambert and Place du Marché, the heart of the city.
Liege hosts every Sunday one of the largest markets in Europe called “Marché de la Batte”, on the Meuse riverside. It is over three kilometers long with almost five hundred shopkeepers: greengrocers, florists, butchers, fishmongers, fishmongers, clothes sellers, new books and second-hand and even pets.
To visit: La Boverié, the city museum, in the park of the same name; The Cathedral; the Montagne de Bueren, a 374-step staircase built to honor the fallen in the battle to defend the city from the attack of the Duke of Burgundy in the 15th century.
Day 05 – STAGE 03 – 118 km – 700 m – Liege to Leuven
Third stage, from Liege to Leuven, 118km.
We start almost immediately uphill, with the passage to Huy and the namesake Muur, arrival of La Flèche Wallonne. It’s just 1.3 km long but has a difference altitude of 128 meters, with an average gradient of 9.8% and a maximum gradient of 26%! Then we continue north-east, with some up and down (but with more affordable slopes!) up to Leuven, an historic and university city, also famous for its breweries (Artois and Jupiler).
The Library of the University of Leuven is dominated by the Library Tower, which offers panoramic views of the city and exhibits on the history of Leuven during the two world wars. The Groot Begijnhof area is instead a district dating back to the thirteenth century which includes peaceful gardens and cobbled streets.
Day 06 – STAGE 04 -136 km – 1.220 m – Leuven to Oudennarde
The fourth stage takes place from Leuven to Oudenaarde, the city of departure and arrival of the Tour of Flanders. And in fact, the last 40 kilometers are articulated by repeatedly touching the route of the classic in its salient points: we will taste the slopes of the Kepelmuur, with its church, and those of Koppelberg and Kruisberg.
It will be the longest stage, 136km, but those who feel tired can choose to shorten it by about 35 km and return to the hotel first, in Oudenaarde.
The history of Oudenaarde is that of a border town. Already a fortified stronghold in Roman times, in 974 it became the point where the Emperor Otto II of the Holy Roman Empire built the fortifications that divided it from the French Lotaringia and the County of Flanders. In 1062, Baldovino V strengthened the frontier place against the invasions of the Germanic peoples by building the ancient fortress on the banks of the Scheldt river.
Day 07 – STAGE 05 -111 km – 502 m – Oudennarde to Oudennarde
Fifth and final stage, from Oudenaarde to Oudenaarde, also crossing over into France. In the morning we continue along some cobble sections of the Tour of Flanders (including the Oude-Kwaremont), before leaving Belgium and venturing on the streets of Roubaix. The last four sectors of pavé will be tackled: Carrefour de l’Arbre (2.1km), Gruson (1.1km), Willems-Hem (1.4km) and Roubaix (300meters). Return to Oudenaarde after climbing the Knokteberg (1.1km, with slopes of 12.5%).
This stage measures 111km and, like the previous one, can be shortened as the individual participant likes.
Since 2008, the city of Roubaix is part of a cross-border conurbation of around two million inhabitants which was the first European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation in Europe, called Eurometropole Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai.
Greetings and goodbye. The shuttle bus will bring the participants and their bikes back to Brussels-Charleroi airport for the return flight home.
Born in Milan, he learned to juggle the traffic in the city moving by fixed bike.
Growing up a few pedal strokes from the Muro di Sormano, he fell in love with the most impervious climbs. Transplanted to the mountains of Trentino, he began to share his passion for cycling as a tour guide.
Now he lives in Holland, where he shares a new concept of bike mobility.
He started cycling as commuter. Since then, the need has become inspiration and the journeys have lengthened, turning into bike trips.
In the summer of 2016 he decided to take a "sabbatical" month and ride the roads of Europe: he crossed 13 countries and covered 3724 km in 31 days. From that adventure, he wrote the book "L’Europa in bici”.