Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2013

Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2013

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March 29, 2013 – April 8, 2013 // Lille, France // Event Details // Book Now

The Hardmen. They inspire us; we aspire to be one among them. They are the solitary voice among the thousands in our heads that tell us to keep pushing when all the others tell us to stop. Their long shadows look on in approval as we pull on our cold and wet weather gear and head out into the elements to ride.

Every serious Cyclist is a hard man or woman; it comes with the territory. But to be given the title of Hardman, one must be more than just tough. The Hardmen stand out among the rest as the ones who ride over the savage, jagged cobblestones of Northern Europe with a souplesse that is possessed only by those riders who thrive in the most torturous of road cycling’s domains: The Cobbled Classics of Northern Europe.

Velominati has partnered up with Pavé Cycling Classics, based in Northern France, to offer the chance to walk where Giants tread and pedal through the trench of Arenberg and up the devastating cobbled steeps of the Koppenberg and Kapelmuur. To pedal with the Pros during their reconnaissance of the Paris-Roubaix route.

As if that isn’t good enough, we offer the opportunity to do all this with Johan Museeuw, the last Lion of Flanders.

Velominati’s Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2013 will be hosted and guided by the Velominati Keepers in partnership with Pavé Cycling Classics over nine days in April during the most sacred time of the season, the week when de Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris Roubaix are held. The trip is all-inclusive and covers lodging, meals, energy drink, energy bars, and sag support. Bikes are available and included in the price should you wish not to bring your own.

The friendships forged over the 2012 edition of Keepers Tour with 9 days of riding the cobbles of Flanders and Northern France, drinking the best of Belgian beer, and eating the finest French cuisine leave an indelible mark on not only the Keepers, but all those who attend. Cycling has that ability to bring people together, and we count ourselves very blessed to have met such a great bunch of souls who we are proud to call our mates.

For 2013, we have trimmed the fat and added a bunch of amazing treats for you. Not only will we be riding the Pavé du Nord, the steeps of Liége and the Kasseien of Flanders, we will be doing it with a very special guest; The Lion of Flanders himself, Johan Museeuw. Last year we had the pleasure of an afternoon with Johan, riding some of the Gent-Wevelgem route and enjoying a few beers after. This time, you can witness firsthand how to float across the stones of Arenberg and charge up the Kapelmuur from the master… how many cyclists are able to say that?

Take this unique opportunity to be part of an experience that everyone attending will never forget, or regret.

Provisional Itinerary

  • Friday : Pick up midday, travel to gite and get bikes setup
  • Saturday : Paris-Roubaix with Johan Museeuw (last 150km)
  • Sunday : Watch de Ronde van Vlaanderen at the Oude Kwaremont
  • Monday: Visit the Roeselare National Bicycle Museum & go for an easy ride around Kemmel
  • Tuesday:  Liège-Bastogne- Liège with Johan Museeuw
  • Wednesday: Track riding at the Eddy Merckx Velodrome in Gent then watch the GP Escault (Scheldeprijs) pro race
  • Thursday: Paris Roubaix reconaissance ride with the Pros
  • Friday: Brunehaut brewery visit and meet with Pro Team (Omega-Pharma Quickstep or AG2R)
  • Saturday: Ronde Van Vlaanderen with Johan Museeuw (150km)
  • Sunday: Watch Paris Roubaix at three secteurs (Valenciennes, Arenberg, l’Arbre); optional stay at gite on Sunday night

Price: 3990€, All inclusive price includes rides with Johan Museeuw, accommodation for 9 nights, breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer, wine, insurance coverage, sag support, Pavé’s custom Cyfac rental bikes (upon request), exclusive V-Lion V-Shirts, exclusive Keepers Tour V-Pint, exclusive V-Mussette, and Pavé Cycling Classics jersey. Plus swag from our sponsors.

At this time we are accepting reservations for the full Keepers Tour, and now we also include weekend and daily packages. Once the reservation is confirmed, we will collect a 20% deposit with the balance due upon arrival in Lille.

Attendees should be comfortable riding in groups and be able to ride 150km several times in a week at a 28-30kph pace; some groups may elect to go faster but these are non-competitive rides. There will be lots of cobbles, and lots of short, steep climbs – sometimes both at the same time, so prepare yourself accordingly. We will usually have sag support, and riders who are unable to keep up may be asked to climb in the car. Or to Survive on V.


There is a problem with our booking form; please email to register.


Bookings are closed for this event.

Event Details

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Date - March 29, 2013 - April 07, 2013
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Gare de Lille Flandres

Cogal Details
Route Details

// Keepers Tour // Rule V (Hard Ride) // Rule VV (Climbing)

  1. No longer a pavé virgin. First cobble sector was Arenberg, ouch is all I can say. Tomorrow should be interesting. Not sure if me or the bike will cave first.

  2. Lazy day yesterday; small ride with @The Engine and @strathlubnaig to show them some secteurs; must say that riding Arenberg was a bastard fresh off our hard day Thursday.

    Nice easy ride for the most part (as much as a ride can be easy in a block head wind and on pavé) but on Mons en Pavel, Turgot and another ride came by us; impossible to resist the temptation to go after them. In all, I think we saw more Pros yesterday than we did on Thursday during the official Pro recce day.

    Then it was off to see the AG2R team and have a chat with Hugo Houles and check out the mechanics area which, lets face it, was the highlight. They even let us on the bus. Very cool to check out how the team pretends to ease the suffering of being a Pro.

  3. Then it was off to a restaurant in Roubaix, a town which despite it mythical status for Cycling is quite a bit of a shit hole. Anyhow, all the staff were wearing cycling kit.

  4. @frank

    @sthilzy He and his sons both have V-Cufflinks; we’ll have to see tomorrow if they installed them or not.

    Sweet! Tell them they’re made from Flandrian plastic and can survive CX racing!

    How are the V-plugs performing on real cobbles?

  5. Today we ride RVV with Johan again. Can’t wait. We do a version of the original route because the Velominati don’t officially recognize the new route. We’ll hit the classics like the Eikenberg, Kwaremont, Paterberg, Taienberg, Koppenberg, Kapelmuur, Bosberg et al.

    From memory, the Koppenberg is the hardest on the route. Steep as shit in the middel, and steep as a steep thing slightly less steep than shit everywhere else.

  6. Flandrian cobbles bergs and muurs today, too many to name, all classic all iconic all enjoyable. 112km in the company of great lads and of course the Lion of Flanders hisself. What can I say other than superlatives and clichés. ‘kin-A !!

  7. @Mikael Liddy

    @Dr C

    Anyone care to post that classic video of the old P-R race, with the riders raiding the coffee shops for brandy and the poor sod getting slower and slower until he passes out and falls in an ambulance – I think Oli used to lob it up about this glorious time of year

    I was close, it was ’62

    Now that is a great reminder of what it means to  peg the meter, and the fan assisted accents were perfect. At one point they had a type of relay going on.  One of the defining points to the whole race is when the pros just get back on there bikes  by default and ride because failure is not an option . Now the riders wouldn’t hesitate to jump in the team car or the  broom wagon.  Thanks for posting.

  8. Fantasic updates and vidieo Keepers, Now thats the way to do it.

  9. Fantastic  would be the word i was looking for.  that is all.

  10. That was an awesome unplanned few days. Even though I never got a tee I will put it firmly in the ‘ good times’ memory box. Santé Lads !

  11. Looks like yall even ended up in some of photos –

  12. @G’rilla


    @Spun Up

    Frank is a Dutch monkey. I’m as tall as Frank. I’ve ridden that bike and I can barely touch the pedals. And I can barely reach his low bars. And it hurts “down there”. He is a freak in many ways.

    So you’re the same height but he has longer legs AND longer arms?

    Having the good fortune and opporchancity to ride the pavé of France and the cobbles of Flanders alongside Franck I can attest to the near unbelievable height of the seat, and when glancing to my left when he was alongside, I felt like I was on some kiddie bike, I wondered if I should put streamers on my bar ends ffs. It does not, however, appear to be any detriment to him laying down the Vee that’s fer sure.

  13. This is what it’s all about

  14. @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about


  15. @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about


  16. @el franco@frank

    Just when I thought I’d stopped aching… Riding the pave with Johan must have been beyond awesome. How are you going to top that next year – the Pyrenees with Ocana and Pantani?

    Nice white gloves, are they are white version of the Defeet woolly pair you wore the previous Saturday?

    @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    Great shot. The kids saw the flag on Eurosport when we were in Ronde in Edinburgh, thought it was very cool.

    The middle son started talking to one of the guys in the shop about one of the bikes and was asked if he’d watched the race. He replied “No, but my dad rode it last weekend.”

  17. @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    Jesus, you’re a fooock’in RockStar Frahnk!  Awesome!

  18. Fook, nice work lads.

  19. Continuing with the drapeau theme….

  20. Continuing with the drapeau theme….

  21. ffs !!! stoopid interweb…. Continuing with the drapeau theme…. this time….

  22. Hmm, some great photos & a lot of questions stirring in me.

    The Buckler jersey. I’ve only ever seen N/A beer from Buckler. Do they make real beer? That would really blow to be sponsored by a non-alcoholic beer.

    A denim apron? NOoooo!

    Has fi'zi:k gotten into the squishy tape market? Some of the Focus bikes look to have the rubbery tape some manufacturers have out. I have it on my cross bike, might just have to put it on the road bikes too. It really makes grabbing the bars a pleasure, it feels so darn nice.

    What exactly was kept in the “Fitness” container?

    Shoes. Those Sidis look pretty broken in. Do some PROs like to ride the same shoes for a long time? I would, considering how long it took me to get some of my Sidis to be comfortable.

    Also, can anyone venture a guess as to why guys used to ride the same saddle forever, a Regal or such, and now it seems as if everyone is on brand new Ariones, Aliantes, or a Prologo saddle. What caused the switch from classic, broken-in saddles to new ones?

    GREAT photo of Frank there! Wow, I’d feel blessed to be that close to Cancellara as he powered on by. Very cool!

  23. @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    Fuckin’ Robert Plant!

  24. @Dan_R

    @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    Fuckin’ Robert Plant!

    Spot on ,

  25. This should be required viewing for anyone coming along next time. A bit arty-farty, but Johann gets the message across.

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