Frank Jansen

2021-02-22

List of Wallonia monsters episode 5

We have arrived at the apotheosis of the Walloon Monsters. The last 5, the absolute most brutal slopes in Belgium. If you have these on your palmares, then you are the king of Wallonia.

We've already discussed 20 other slopes. Read part 1, part 2, part 3 and part. 4.


05. Col d'Haussire



You might know the Cotacol guide. This masterpiece from the 80s describes 1000 Belgian slopes. And although it's somewhat dated, it's still the undisputed reference point. Cotacol points out the Col d'Haussire as Belgium's number 1. Strangely enough, not via the toughest route, but that's because the creators had imposed on themselves the restriction that intermediate descents should not be more than 10% of the length of the climb. The toughest variant contains 800 meters of descent on a length of 4 kilometers which is too much. I have no problem with that and neither does the municipality of La Roche-en-Ardenne. The signs in the direction of the Haussire lead you via the difficult Rue Gohette. On top of the col there is a proud sign saying: 1st Côte de Belgique. For a place on the honorary podium of the Walloon Monsters he comes up just short, but the number 5 position is honorable enough. 

From the village you turn into the Rue Gohette for the three-stage rocket. A typical Walloon climb, between the 'crooked houses' you are immediately tested. The first kilometer is already not funny anymore, but you have to keep going. For a moment you can enjoy a descent, after which immediately the second part awaits. This is a super steep part along the wildlife park where the legs are briefly squeezed. You will be grateful for the longer descent. However, this is hardly enough for a reasonable recovery. With two walls in the legs, the big bang starts: 1300 meters at 11% average. The road runs almost perfectly straight through the forest. The road is not moving at all and you never get into the right rhythm. Because of the length and earlier effort many a rider here drives himself completely over the head. Once at the top you can rest at the sign. 

But there are four variants, one of which we will take a closer look at. In the Velomediane Criquielion the start is on the Rue Saint-Quilion. Super steep upwards right away. After 200 meters it gets a little easier, but very sneaky it picks up again. Before you know it, it's suffering all the way. Just before the wildlife park, from the left side the road from Rue Gohette joins. Then you follow the route as described earlier. Both versions are hardly inferior to each other. 

Events:


More info on Climbfinder.



04. Montagne de la Croix

Montgne de la Croix



Dinant is one of the nicest places in the Ardennes with a beautiful citadel and the Leffe brewery. But it is also the place of the Montagne de la Croix, perhaps the most unknown wall in Belgium. It's one of a kind. The first 600 meters have an average of 16.3%, an absolute record for Belgium.

It takes a while to find the foot of the climb, but once you've found it, a feast of steep hectometers awaits.

The climb is located on a narrow road between houses. You see the road running in front of you and wonder how they ever managed to build this. From the first meter, there is no escape, it goes up terribly steep right away. And it gets steeper and steeper. You really have to be able to drive straight, because it is so narrow here that navigating is impossible. Your legs are screaming and you've only just begun. At the end of the buildings, the road turns left. This is where it gets really steep. The third hectometer averages 21% with a maximum of 23%. Cycling for idiots. You're now riding in a forest and it just doesn't stop.

After 600 meters, it briefly becomes more manageable, but you're completely wasted. Then you run into buildings again, clearly a new housing estate. This is where you have to pedal hard once more, because it goes up very steeply for another 100 metres. Until the last moment you are tested. Then follows a spur of a few hundred meters, but that is no more than false flat. At the main road it's over. The Montagne de la Croix is a monster climb.

Events:

  • None


More info on Climbfinder.


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03. Stockeu

Stockeu



The Stockeu is probably the best known slope of the top five, as it has been frequently included in Liege-Bastogne-Liege for years. In the Flèche de Wallonie sportive, the Stockeu is the first climb of the infamous triptych at the end of the stage. The road surface was completely renewed a few years ago, so that won't be the problem.

Like many hills in Wallonia, you have to work hard from first meter on. Between the houses it's just hurts. The road goes almost straight on and when you finally see the sign 'end of Stavelot' you think: now the worst will be over. Unfortunately, you are wrong, because here it only begins. You are now in the woods and there follows a terrible wall of up to 21%. You can hardly pedal against it. And although it goes up in short bursts, it remains horribly steep after that.

After 1km at an average of 14.1% you'll arrive at the Stèle Eddy Merckx, a statue of The Cannibal with all his victories. Well, the most important ones then, because there are too many. It therefore ends with the text: 'etc, etc'. Here the pros in LBL descend again, but the climb continues for another kilometer and a half. And make no mistake, this is still hard enough. Just after the statue, keep to the left where it briefly goes up very unpleasantly. At the top you come to a plain. No longer extremely difficult, but you will still feel it. In the distance you see a forest, there is the end. But the last turn to the right is just very tough. Then you're finally there, under the trees you can recover from this extreme ordeal.


Events:


More info on Climbfinder.



02. Triple Mur de Monty




The region of Namur/Dinant contains the necessary vertical pearls. Near the town of Lustin you will find the iconic Triple Mur de Monty. Often this slope is in the Tour de Namur. It is what the name says: three walls in a row. What's more, they get progressively trickier. When you ride into the forest road, you get to warm up the legs for a while. The pleasure is short-lived. For over 200 meters you have to confront the heavily armed gravity. From the first meter you will feel it. And this is only the prelude. The flat section that follows is as pleasant as it is short.

Nearly having recovered from the first effort, the second wall presents itself. Longer and more ruthless. The road surface is poor, but good enough for the hardened cyclist. The average of 13.4% over a good 500 meters only tells part of the story, because some hectometers are much higher. You are completely drained. Once you have survived the second wall you can give your legs a well-deserved rest.

The road surface gets better as soon as you ride out of the forest. The short interlude gives you the chance to drop the heart rate. You'll need it, in front of you looms the final wall. Barely recovered you rake like never before. You are almost there, yet it is still so far. You toil, sweat and sigh. After the right turn, you see the first houses, but also the last wall. You shift gears hoping to have one more wreath left. In vain. The last stretch is over 21%, truly bizarre with all you've already had. I didn't know I could ride so slowly without falling over, you think to yourself. Like an orange on a juicer you are completely squeezed. Worn out from the suffering, you reach Lustin. The bestial torture of the Triple Mur is over.

Events:


More info on Climbfinder.



01. Côte de la Ferme Libert

Côte de la Ferme Libert



The restaurant Ferme Libert is presumably not keen on cycling clientèle. The diner, at three-quarters of the climb, is barely accessible by bicycle. 2006 was one of my first years as a cycling tourist. I loved discovering tough hills and during an Ardennes vacation I rode there. Earlier that week I had already explored the Stockeu, Wanne and the Thier de Coo. I thought: it can't get any crazier. But the Ferme Libert exceeded everything. In recent years I have climbed this slope several times and the image has not changed at all. The first hectometre or so it doesn't seem too bad, but in no time at all it demands the utmost of us in order to go forward. The first few kilometers are not too bad, but in no time at all the bike is pushed to its limits in order to go forward. If this continues, you think to yourself that this is indeed one of the toughest hills. The bike is on the left and a brutal surprise begins: 300 meters of parabolic ascent with an average of 16.7%. With peaks that are even higher. You see the end of the forest and think: this will be it. But it just goes on and on. Those who can still talk call out for their mother. Painfully slowly, the restaurant comes into view, here you can give your legs a rest. The view is ominous, however, because a gigantic final climb awaits. The last 300 meters are really hellish after all the above. Completely destroyed, you reach the top of the toughest Walloon monster. As the guys from Climbfinder say: "What a bugger this is!


Events:

  • Geen


More info on Climbfinder.



List of Wallonia Monsters:


26. Côte de Beffe

25. Côte de Wanneranval

24. Thier de Nonceveux

23. Chambralles

22. Côte d'Amermont

21. Côte de la Redoute

20. Rue Saint-Roch

19. Voie des Chars

18. Côte de Drolenval

17. Mur de Huy

16. La Gayolle

15. Roche-a-Frene

14. Rue sur Steppes

13. La Haute Folie

12. Rue Tesny

11. Route de Saint-Vith

10. Côte de Roche-aux-Faucons

09. Thier de Huy

08. Le Hézalles

07. Mur de Maboge

06. Thier de Coo

05. Col d'Haussire

04. Montagne de la Croix

03. Stockeu

02. Triple Mur de Monty

01. Côte de la Ferme Libert


Photos: Climbfinder (Col d'Haussire, Montagne de la Croix, Stockeu, Ferme Libert), Google Maps (Triple Mur de Month)

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