Over the border and straight into the first stage in Belgium: twenty one miles north east from Bois Bourdon to Senneffe. But what is it with these straight roads? Are they a relic of the old Roman Empire? The stage is basically straight all the way from the off, except for a wee detour through Binche, where they haven’t built a by-pass (yet), and interestingly, the motto of Binche is “Further beyond”, which is just as well really, because there are still 792 stages to go after this one.
The rollout heads north east, just like its predecessor, and although the N563 (note the Belgium road naming convention) climbs gently for two miles to Havay on the left, it then begins a long undulating descent that carries on all the way to the lowest elevation of the stage at Binche after eleven miles. The descent takes in Givry at four miles, Estinnes at seven miles and Waudrez at nine miles at the foot of the steepest part of the descent, all of which remains perfectly straight from the start.
At Waudrez on nine miles, the road hangs a right and heads into Binche where the route snakes left/right/sharp left through the town centre before emerging through the Batties district on the northern side of town, past the local Aldi and then on to the roundabout where the road out of town meets the N55 autoroute west of Ressaix. The N563 goes straight across at the roundabout before emerging straight, north east (again) and uphill all the way to Le Placard at sixteen miles. On the way, as the climb gather more slope, the road passes by Cronfestu at thirteen miles, Les Trois Arbres a mile later, Morlanweiz at fifteen miles then finally into Le Placard where the N563 gives way to the N59 at a flyover and starts heading north.
Through Marie la Guerre approaching seventeen miles, the climb finally peaks as the N59 prepares to cross over the main E42 Autoroute de Wallonie: there’s a short sharp descent straight after the E42 before the road climbs again ahead of the Giratoire Gendarmerie roundabout where the route trades the N59 for the N27 by taking a right off the roundabout. The N27 then approaches the Brussels-Charleroi Canal on the outskirts of Seneffe but leaves the actual crossing for the start of stage 9 as the finish of stage 8 arrives a few metres short of the bridge.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 449 feet / 137 metres
RGT Magic Road: giaEuQPoH3Lh
Max elevation: 776 ft
Min elevation: 444 ft
Total climbing: 446 ft
Total descent: -531 ft
You must log in to post a comment.