Sports | 2 April 2016Ronde Van Vlaandern part 2: Simon Warren’s guide to climbing the Paterberg Share article facebook twitter google pinterest With its origins as a farm track paved over by an enterprising farmer hoping to gain the attention of race organisers, the Paterberg has gained prominence since its first inclusion in the 1986 Ronde Van Vlaandern. Recent changes to the route have introduced repeated ascents, and the climb has provided a springboard for a number of race-defining attacks. Fabian Cancellara, who returns to Flanders hoping to take a record fourth title, used the climb to assert his dominance over Peter Sagan in the 2013 edition, grinding out a lead whilst sat in the saddle as Sagan faded behind him. Will this replace the Muur as a battleground for a Boonen vs. Spartacus clash in the 100th edition? The short distance belies a ferocious gradient, maxing out at 20%, that challenges the most hardened Classics contendor. On-bike footage from Magnus Cort’s 2015 effort shows riders straining out of the saddle, grinding along at close to walking pace as the road kicks up. But what about us mere mortals? Simon Warren has conquered the Paterberg, and provides his guide to this climb, rated 9/10 on Simon’s Suffer Scale, below. One for the brave. Or foolhardy: “This was the climb above all others that I had been longing to ride; there was something about its appearance that drew me to it. It’s a dead straight, perfectly formed, steep line of suffering. And one that has been caught in the middle of the controversy regarding the reworking of the Tour of Flanders route. Instead of finishing in Meerbeke via The Muur and Bosberg, the organizers devised a route for the 2015 race that features not one but three ascents of the Paterberg. From being just a bit part, this climb is set, temporarily at least, to become the event’s main attraction. It’s a beautiful and brutal hill, but better than The Muur? Not in my opinion, and hopefully in a few years these last couple of sentences can be ignored. Anyhow, what is it like to ride? It’s short and steep, very steep, cobbled right from the base and the further you ride the tougher it gets, with the top half a brutal 20% for a good 100 metres. The cobbles are in very good condition, though; they are large and jarring but uniform and tightly packed. At about halfway up, where the gradient really begins to bite, you’ll see a faint line of cement just off centre on the wrong side of the road. It’s very subtle, but just enough to smooth the gaps and provide a much better line to ride this fantastic little road.” Strava provides some fitting inspiration, with the QOM held by Elisa Longo Borghini at 1.17 and Dries Devenyns taking the KOM at 54s. The bar has been set! Belgium’s Greatest Cycling Climbs by Simon Warren is the essential jersey pocket-sized guide to the country’s finest hellingen, and is available via www.quartoknows.com. Keep up to date with Simon on Twitter @100Climbs and come back over the weekend for our guides to more decisive hills from the Ronde. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.