Iconic cyclocross venues: Koppenbergcross

Koppenbergcross is hallowed ground. It's been a playground for Sven Nys over the years and includes the famous Koppenberg climb.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the October issue of Velo magazine, which profiled five iconic European cyclocross venues.

Few hillsides resonate with as much significance as the cobbled Koppenberg. Swathed in grassy pastureland, it rises to a mere 76 meters (250 feet), but that’s enough to wreak havoc on the legs that have to climb it. Sven Nys has won nine of the last 13 editions. Among the women, local favorite Helen Wyman leads with three victories.

There is no denying the mystique of the Tour of Flanders’ famed cobbled climb. The ’cross race uses about half of that ascent before cutting to the right and finishing the climb on grass.

Though the race is often won on the climb, it is just as often lost on the tricky descent toward the finish. The course rips through six harrowing, high-speed switchbacks, each packed deep with fans.

Past winners

2014: Wout Van Aert
2013: Tom Meeusen
2012: Sven Nys
2011: Kevin Pauwels
2010: Sven Nys
2009: Sven Nys
2008: Sven Nys
2007: Sven Nys
2006: Sven Nys
2005: Sven Nys