Stage 9’s a right rollicking ride, with a bit of everything for the discerning cyclist: hills, thrills, and if you’re not too careful, spills. It’s lumpy and bumpy and at no point could you ever call it flat. There’s a rip-roaring descent as seven miles, but sadly it’s gone before you could utter the immortal words “Crikey, we’re below sea level!”
The descent comes about as the N27 drops down over the E19 highway to the Ancien canal Bruxelles-Charleroi. Of course what goes down must also go up, and you pay for the fun factor in the second half of the ride as the road tries to reclaim parity with sea level, just about managing it in the final metres of the stage.
Routewise, the course takes a trip through Nivelles, which hosted the Belgian Grand Prix, won by Emmerson Fittipaldi both times, in 1972 and 1974. The town also boasts a collection of giant puppets, some of which date back to the 14th century.
The rollout is north/north east through Seneffe after a mile before the N27 crosses over the main E19 autoroute two miles later. The road’s lumpy but it hasn’t really done anything too exotic to that point. Straight after the E19, the road descends to cross the Ancien Canal Charleroi-Bruxelles and that kickstarts the first climb of the stage, which peaks before before a second crossing of the E19 after five miles.
The route then descends down to Nivelles, home of the old F1 circuit, where it bends left through the town on a long looping bend,. before curving right and north east again on leaving the town. What remains of the Grand Prix circuit, which is now an industrial estate, is on the left at seven miles. The road begins a second climb towards Baulers on the right at eight miles, and it peaks at the highest elevation on the stage near a service station after nine miles. The road’s then lumpy and gently downhill through Lillois Witterzee at eleven miles miles before crossing over the main R0 autoroute on a right/left/right slalom a mile later.
Now on a generally downward trend, the N27 slides through Mont Saint Jean at fourteen miles, followed by Vert Coucou, Ransbeck and La Hulpe in quick succession by eighteen miles. Immediately after La Hulpe, the road descends to cross the L’Argentine river at the lowest elevation of the stage where both the road and the river pass by the Le Grand Etang lake before the road hangs a right at a roundabout, curving left and climbing steeply to the finish approaching Maleizen.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 787 feet / 240 metres
RGT Magic Road: awWfs7U6U7UZ
Max elevation: 696 ft
Min elevation: 456 ft
Total climbing: 786 ft
Total descent: -856 ft
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