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Ardennes

20 – 27 April 2019

The infamous annual “hARDENNES” event is 8 days of hArd riding, including catching roadside moments of the Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and L-B-L Classics races. The Best of the Ardennes, quite simply.

The perfect early-season training block, tailored to test the ‘Spring’ in your legs! This area is my back-yard. I never tire of riding these stunning, quiet roads. For ten years now I have shared them in April and every year riders are quite amazed at the “quality” of the riding. Watching three of the the Spring Classics is not a bad bonus either.

Please email Phil for any questions.

Belgian climbs are like their beers - high in % and after just a couple you could easily fall over! And I thought Belgium was supposed to be flat!
Jo Allen, hArdennes rider

The Stages

hArdennes Stage 1

Saturday

160km / 2800m

Main climbs:
Leg Loosener

Getting in the mood. Includes a first visit to La Redoute. We’ll have just one ‘bakery/café stop’ at km 70 but our support van will be on hand for snack & drink top-ups all along the way. One challenging gravel climb for you in the latter part of the ride

hArd Stage 2

Sunday

196km / 3200m

Main climbs:
Amstel Gold Race day

Amstel Gold race day. A choppy ride across to the race, via the Vecquée climb ( an occasional star of LBL, in a good year). Our Feed One will be in the old (cobbled) part of Limburg, at km 70. We’ll hit the race course at km 90, where you can pick your spot to see the peloton glide up the Lorberg. We’ll provide you with a picnic lunch here too. If Our Plan works, we will catch the race at two other spots…. But previous years have shown that the race doesn’t always do what it says on the tin ! We have planned a loop section so whatever happens, it will be simple for us to escape from the chaos. We then roll our way back through the Herve region, home of the legendary ‘Sirop de Liège’. Feed Three will be in Ogne at km 153 on the way back before seeking out some of the BaD local training climbs to end the ride nicely.

hArd Stage 3

Monday

160km / 3200m

Main climbs:
Malmedy Madness

Heading east via more of the LBL pearls and the Eddy Merckx statue a-top of the Stockeu climb. Food & drink available from our support van but no morning feed stop. After the Terrible Trio of climbs in Malmedy, and a glorious loop which almost takes us into Germany, we end part 1 of this stage with the Ferme Libert climb, which has featured in the lest three editions of LBL, we feed you at km 96 with uber-good sandwiches. After lunch we follow the periphery of the F1 Spa Francorchamps track, pass the foot of the Col de Rosier, climb some nice 20% bits, and so the fun goes on…. Food & drink available from our support van but no afternoon feed stop.

hArd Stage 4

Tuesday

219km / 3500m

Main climbs:
Fleche Wallonne, our version

Fleche Wallonne race-inspired route. We cover most of the important ‘difficulties’ of the FW race, and a bit more. We’ll stop at km 80 at the Spontin castle for Feed One (café / wc option). Some of the finale FW climbs next on our way into Huy for the first time. We’ll stop at the lovely new bike-café (Le Mur) there for lunch at km 135 before we tackle the penultimate FW bump followed by the Mur itself. ( some can get in an extra go during the ‘lunch-break’ if they are that keen !) Out of Huy and over to another of the latter FW climbs before taking on a 'better' version of the Mur. A relatively gentle section then to tea-time in Durbuy at km 197 and you’re nearly done…. ( in whichever way you would like to think !)

hArd Stage 5

Wednesday

120km / 1600m

Main climbs:
Fleche Wallonne Race day

The Recovery Ride / Fleche Wallonne race day. We usually have a café stop on the way over & the way back. We’ll look after your bikes for you at Huy so you can visit the town & watch the races coming 5 times in all over the Mur ( Ladies x2, Men x3). Always one of the best race-watch days you can ever wish for.

hArd Stage 6

Thursday

170km / 3000m

Main climbs:
La Roche en Ardenne and lots of forest

Perhaps the most picturesque ride of the week. After a loop northwards to catch the Roche à Frene climb, and a couple of other bumps, we head over towards the gorgeous woodlands around Fourneau St Michel. Food & drink will be on hand in the van but we won’t have a proper feed stop until our Auberge at km 90. An ever-popular eatery with lovely hot (vegetarian) food served up for us. More of the Best Forest on our way back, as well as a bit of gravel, and a short feed stop river-side at km 128. We’ll have an early dinner just outside Dochamps, after which you will just have a roll downhill to your hotel and early to bed.

hArd Stage 7

Friday

249km / 4830m

Main climbs:
Luxembourg & LBL Part One

Part One of a very special duet of Glory through Suffering. Feed Stop 1 will be at a café in Achouffe (famous beer) at km 83. Before then we’ll have climbed some of the toughest roads around La Roche-en-Ardenne. After F1 we get an LBL favourite ( Cote de Roch) in Houffalize, followed by some welcome ‘gentler’ cycle path on our way into Luxembourg. Posh tarmac, castles and some astounding scenery. At km 163 we’ll have lunch in the village of Bourscheid (café/wc option) with a perfect view over the medieval château. At kms 194 and 214, in Beaufort ( where the bakery does amazing Natillas – Portugese tarts !) we’ll have Feed Stop Three and the start of the 25km « Mullerthal loop » . The charming town of Vianden is reknowned for it’s stunning castle of which we have a perfect view just before the stage-end. Which is nice….As is our hotel ☺.

hArd Stage 8

Saturday

241km / 5020m

We’ll start in the dark again with some superb Luxembourg (steep) roads before a pleasant rolling section in Germany. More posh tarmac before hitting the rough roads of Belgium again and into the heart of LBL land. We’ll stop for Feed One in Vielsalm at 85km (café /wc option) before joining what is usually the start of the LBL finale on the Cote de Wanne. Rather than cutting across to the Stockeu, we first take a superb gravel climb (Rochlinval) followed by the infamous Thier de Coo and then plunge into & across the cobbles of Stavelot. The Stockeu is next before we rise towards Francorchamps to climb the Col de Rosier. Follows a ‘back-way’ to the Redoute in Remouchamps. Then we ‘cross-country’ our way towards Esneux for our own version of the LBL Roche à Frene - a vicous loop with both the R à F climb and then an even ‘better’ Cote des Rochettes (very few riders do/know this ☺). BUT, our reward is a very pretty 7km riverside cycle path back to Esneux. We’ll have a Feed Three at 220km in Ferrieres (café / wc option) , which although at only 20km from the end, I am sure will be very welcome !! The last 40kms of this ride are as hard as any 40kms of the week ! NOTE - with distances of 80kms between stops, our support van will be on hand for food & drink when necessary in between feeds.

hArd Stage 9

Sunday Race Watch LBL Race Day

Watch LBL come across the wild plateau of « Les Tailles » & then ride over to La Redoute ? !