When we present the new Omloop route to Lucinda, we see her eyes shining bright. She's obviously a fan. "I kinda like a tough race where there is almost no room for recuperation", says the Sunweb rider. "On the old route a regroupment after the final climb was very well possible on our way to Ghent. I don't think this will be the case on the new parcours."
"As it was last year, the build-up on this new track is rather long. But when the fun begins after 60km with the Kattenberg, the sequence of cobbled sections and climbs is going to be really hard. You gotta be in the front of the race and wanting to ride, if not you're done. Having to climb the Muur van Geraardsbergen en Bosberg so deep in the finale, is a positive adjustment. This new route should be a good fit for me."
"Passing by on the Muur is pure goose bumps"
The Muur van Geraardsbergen has a special meaning to Lucinda Brand. "I rode twice on the old route of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, in 2009 and 2010", remembers the Dutchie. "Everyone being so lyrical of the Muur being so deep in the finale, is something I get completely. It will be decisive without a doubt. The Muur is a monument, also in Holland. When you tell someone a race is passing by on the Muur, it appeals to people."
"At my parents' place a beautiful picture of me on The Muur hangs on the wall, a picture of my first Ronde van Vlaanderen. That picture indicates exactly the feeling of the Muur", is Lucinda not hiding her love for this legendary climb. "It doesn't lie. From the moment you turn onto the cobbles in the streets of Geraardsbergen, it's so hard. But sometimes you fly right over it, sometimes it's hurting to the bones until you get to the chapel on top. The atmosphere is so overwhelming. Always there's such a huge crowd, even when it's only a passage in a smaller race. Passing by on the Muur is pure goose bumps and it's making me ride even harder at that moment. That's the effect of the Muur."