Marcel van Herten
At the moment, there are only two cycling event that bears the name of Eddy Merckx. The Eddy Merckx Classic, an Austrian gran fondo. And the Alé La Merckx Gran Fondo, starting from Verona in Italy. In the past, there was also the Granfondo Eddy Merckx, which, of course, was held in Belgium. But there was also another event, which was also called Eddy Merckx Classic. A beautiful, unknown sportive starting in Roermond.
In 2013 and 2015 this Eddy Merckx Classic was organized twice. Although the name would suggest otherwise, start and finish was in Roermond. The link between "The Cannibal" (who himself twice gave acte de presence on the bike) and the Central Limburg city is not entirely clear and obvious. Especially if you look at the other events linked to Merckx, where there is a lot of climbing to be done, it makes you frown a bit.... But Eddy was there and that was mainly thanks to the organization. But perhaps just as important: if you had the idea that this would be a flat ride, then you would be deceived.
After a flat start through the Maas valley to the north, after 20 km the road climbs the steep edge of the river for the first time. Then the, mainly car-free, roads keep on dancing up and down over the German part of the plateau between the Maas and the Rhine. The moraines around Hinsbeck and Süchteln provide a few challenges with gradients above 10%. The roads here are super as we are used to in Germany. At Niederkrüchten the 110km and 160km routes split up. The 100km goes via National Park the Meinweg and the beautiful Roerdal back to Roermond.
The 160 km route adds the necessary calories and elevation to the route. Around Wassenberg you can imagine yourself in the Eifel with beautiful views and rolling hills. Here the Ruhr has done its best to create sharp height differences in the landscape. So it's uphill again. After the loop around Wassenberg, the route connects again with the 110 km route on the Beatrix plateau at Herkenbosch. And it goes via Roerdal back to Roermond. And then you tick off almost 1000 hm. Not bad for a flat ride!
Of course we looked up the routes for you and put them in a collection on our Komoot channel. Great to ride by your self or with a bunch of friends.