Plan your moment of fame – the Dutch Cycling Classics

Road Cycling Collection by Simon Rosmolen

Sportives are an integral part of cycling in the Netherlands. Every year thousands of fanatics jump on their bikes to ride their favourite cycling classic. Whether with friends, colleagues, the whole family or alone and whether young, old, trained or untrained. Whether you are looking for a day out or a weekend break with the whole family and your tent, the choice is enormous.

One problem – the date of your favourite classic is fixed, but your legs aren’t ready. You don’t want to be left behind by your overpacked but better trained friends, right? Of course, it’s the taking part that counts, but what if it starts pouring down? Oops, maybe you happen to have misplaced your entrance ticket...

You can’t make excuses for the routes in this Collection because you decide when, with whom, and how you ride your classic. With komoot’s navigation, you don’t need signposts or organised supply points. Of course, it’s a shame that the helpers along the way and medals are missing, but with a little imagination, you can still enjoy a heroic finish on the top of the Cauberg. So choose your favourite classic, set a date, get training your legs, invite your cycling mates and set your sight on eternal glory.

In this Collection, you'll find a selection of the best-known, biggest, and funnest sportives in the Netherlands. Each Tour has its own character: Ride the Amstel Gold Race over the dreaded South Limburg hills; take on the continuous wind during the Elfstedentocht in flat Friesland; cycle over the oldest and most beautiful dike in the Netherlands on the Ronde van de WEstfriese Omringdijk; pay homage to your favourite cycling hero on the Jan Janssen Classic through the Utrechtse Heuvelrug and Veluwe; or follow in the tyre tracks of Joop Zoetemelk on the Joop Zoetemelk Classic through the Groene Hart region, the so-called “Green Heart” of the Netherlands.

For each Tour, I’ve described the most popular route variant and included a link to a shorter alternative. Oh, and why not sign up for the organised event too. A lot of events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic so the organisation would be grateful for your support. Just make sure you don’t make any excuses...

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Difficult
    10:20
    148 mi
    14.3 mph
    950 ft
    950 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The Tour of Tours, or the Frisian Eleven Cities Tour, should not be missing in this list of classics. Most people know this from the skate, but this cracker is also ridden by bicycle. The Eleven Cities Tour is 220 kilometers and of course takes you past eleven beautiful Frisian cities and villages. Along the way you pass the green meadows, the Frisian lakes and the Wadden Sea. Every year, 15,000 participants start here. Now you decide when and with whom you drive it.You get on in Bolsward and cycle north to Harlingen. Gaze across the Wadden and the bobbing fishing boats in the harbor of the first stop of the Frisian eleven cities. Along the salt marshes of the Waddenzee you drive to Dokkum, the northernmost city of Friesland. Here you have enough options for a lunch (fish?) Or coffee stop. You will reach Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland, along the Dokkumer Ee.From Bolsward you prepare for the second loop through the southwestern part of Friesland. If you paid close attention, you did not come across a tree or forest. This gives the wind free rein. Moreover, the wind in the Netherlands usually blows from the southwest. That makes the coming kilometers of the Frisian Eleven Cities Tour the hardest.You cycle around the Frisian lakes and pass the cities of Sneek, IJlst and Sloten. You can easily get to the latter, because Sloten is the smallest of the eleven cities with 700 inhabitants. From Stavoren on the coast you prepare for the last kilometers. You can visit the Skating Museum in Hindeloopen, but after 200 km in the saddle you probably prefer to cycle on.After you have passed Workum, the finish in Bolsward is visible. Normally you exchange the full stamp card for a medal or pin after an anniversary edition. Treat yourself to a beer in the pub and maybe you will receive a deserved kiss on your cheek from a Frisian round miss or mist.Start and finish location: Bolsward
    Parking: Paid parking applies in Bolsward. You can park for free just outside the route.
    Public transport: Get on in Leeuwarden if you come by train
    Organizer: Stichting de Friese Elfsteden Rijwieltocht
    Shortened route: this is the only official distance along the eleven cities…
    Cycle the Eleven Cities Tour as a multitour: komoot.nl/collection/945599/de-fietselfstedentocht-van-polder-tot-terp-naar-zee-al-het-beste-van-friesland
    Official website: fietselfstedentocht.frl

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    Difficult
    06:50
    91.1 mi
    13.3 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The Joop Sweet Milk Classic is a tribute to the greatest Dutch cyclist of all time. This route goes through the Green Heart, where the winner of the Tour de France from 1980 made his first kilometers as a junior. This tour is planned every year at the beginning of spring. But if the legs are not good yet, will you ride this 145 km long ride later in the year?You get on at the clubhouse of cycling association Swift in Leiden. You have to fantasize about Joop's usual starting shot, but that you are following in his cycling tracks today is certain. In the wide surroundings of the Green Heart, Joop laid the foundation for his second places (6x second) and that one grand victory in the Tour de France as a junior. You cycle on roads along the canals, villages and polders. The area is almost flat. But be careful, because the wind has free rein over the peat meadow area of the Green Heart.Along the way you pass parts of the border of the old Roman empire (Roman Limes) and the Old Dutch Waterline. Many fortresses and castles can be found along these lines. Fort Wierickerschans on the Oude Rijn is an example of this and was built in 1673 to ward off unwanted visitors. But today nobody can stop you.The Green Heart is bursting with regional products. For example, a cheese market is held on the Kerkplein every Saturday morning between May and August in Woerden. You can also taste atmosphere (and cheese) in the nearby Cheese Warehouse. You can have lunch in almost all the villages you cycle through. But the best thing is to do this locally at one of the many farms and stalls along the way. You will find them automatically.As with any classic, the venom is in the tail. With the finish in sight, a final effort awaits you at Col du Bourg a la Creme, or the Bult van Roomburg in Leiden. Once at the top you descend to the finish at the Swift clubhouse.Start and finish location: Leiden Run and Tour Association Swift in Leiden
    Parking: free parking in surrounding residential areas
    Public transport: Leiden Station
    Organizer: Leiden Run and Tour Association Swift
    Shortened route: komoot.nl/tour/218735203
    Official website: swift-joopzoetemelkclassic.nl

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  • Difficult
    07:04
    93.1 mi
    13.2 mph
    4,125 ft
    4,125 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    How better to honor Jan Janssen, the winner of the Tour de France in 1968, than to name a climbing tour after him? The Jan Janssen Classic has been organized by tour club Wageningen since 1985 and has grown into the largest tour in the Central Netherlands. The chosen route in this Collection is a loop of 150 km over the lateral moraine of the Rhine and the peaks of the Veluwe. Altimeters guaranteed in this classic.From the boarding point in Wageningen you drive over the lateral moraine of the Rhine to the east. The first series of short but steep climbs follow here between Dorwerth and Arnhem. From Arnhem a flatter section follows through the moors of the Veluwe towards Hoenderloo. A little later you cross the Loenermark. Be careful not to hit a sheep, they graze around here in this beautiful heather area in the Veluwe.You are now approaching the climbs at the Posbank, so make sure your calorie supply is up to standard. You can recharge the battery in Loenen (Bike & Eat lunchroom) or Eerbeek (Heideroos). Highly recommended is cafeteria De Linde in De Steeg. Although the homemade snacks may be a bit heavy for the upcoming climbs. In the Veluwezoom follow the Rozenbos-Holleweg (2.3km, 3.2%) and Zijpenberg (2.3km, 3.6%).From Arnhem you follow the road and the finish at Wageningen is in sight. But do not cheer too early, because you will feel the cobblestones of the climb over the Italian road (770m, 5.4%) after 135 km.Start and finish location: University Sports Center "De Bongerd" in Wageningen
    Parking: free at boarding location
    Public transport: Ede-Wageningen
    Organizer: Tourclub Wageningen
    Short route: komoot.nl/tour/213192613
    Official website: janjanssenclassic.nl

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    Difficult
    05:03
    69.3 mi
    13.7 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    The Gerrie Knetemann Classic is an Amsterdam cycling round in honor of Gerrie Knetemann. The former rider caused a furore in the 1980s. The former road worker brought cycling to the people and won the Amstel Gold Race and ten tour stages. The “Kneet” died in 2004 at the age of 53. Since 2006, this cycling round has been held annually around his beloved Amsterdam.This 110 km Tour starts and finishes at the Olympic Stadium and passes through Groene Hart, 't Gooi and along the nature reserves of the Vinkeveense- and Loosdrechtse plassen. You drive out of the city along the Amstel. On the way to Loosdrechtse Plassen you will pass small villages like Baambrugge, Loenersloot and Vreeland. The view over the farm landscape and the extensive lakes is typically Dutch. At Breukelen you cross the Amsterdams Rijnkanaal for the second time and you pass the Vinkeveense Plassen.Organized breaks are of course missing from this tour edition, but in Uithoorn you will find a good replacement at Prosciutto di Amsterdam. The apple pie and whipped cream are homemade and the Italian delicatessen is full of cycling attributes.You can now prepare for the final of the Gerrie Knetemann Classic. Within the last kilometers you pass the Velodrome in Sloten. If the legs feel good, you can take a lap here on the 2.5 km cycling track of ASC Olympia. The course record is set in 2020 with 2 minutes and 39 seconds (57.4 km / h) by Daniel Abraham. You can also drive directly for a self-improvised hero reception at the Olympic Stadium. And you might get a tour of the bartender in one of the surrounding cafes.Start and finish location: Olympic Stadium Amsterdam
    Parking: P + R Olympic Stadium
    Public transport: Amsterdam Zuid Station
    Organizer: We Are Cycling, Golazo Sports
    Short route: komoot.nl/tour/218740949
    Official website: gerrieknetemannclassic.nl

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    Difficult
    07:37
    95.6 mi
    12.5 mph
    6,400 ft
    6,175 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The Amstel Gold Race is the only real cycling classic in the Netherlands. Just like the big annual professional competition, this route takes you through the most feared climbs in Limburg. The 15,000 places are determined annually by drawing lots, but with komoot you can also drive this route of 150 km without a starting permit. Are you following in the footsteps of our own Mathieu van der Poel, who won the 2019 AGR?Expect a ride of twists and turns, up and down. Divided over fifteen passes with more than two thousand altimeters. This classic requires a good condition and well-considered battle plan. To help you here are some tips for the most infamous, most beautiful, longest and steepest climbs of this Tour classic.Perhaps the most beautiful climb is the Camerig after 80 km. With an increase of 4%, this test seems to be easy at first sight. But make no mistake. The relatively low slope has been measured including (?) The intermediate flat sections and short descent. Use these moments for your recovery, because you will need them on steep parts of the longest climb (4.4 km) of the day.The most treacherous climb is the Eyserbosweg (1.1 km). From the foot of the mountain, the finish at the top of the forest appears in sight. But as soon as you reach the forest, after the bend, an unpleasant surprise awaits: the 300 meter lock of almost 13%.Make sure you are on your smallest page at the beginning of the Keutenberg (1.2 km). Because whoever shifts incorrectly to the steepest 21% in the Netherlands must get off. Once you have reached the "kink", the legs are already acidified and you can hardly recover on the last part of this climb.The finish is in sight in Valkenburg. But don't cheer too early, because you still have to get on the Cauberg. The climb is 850m long and 7.5% steep on average. You will have to go to extremes here, especially after all the kilometers and altimeters that are already in the legs.Finally: without good nutrition you will not reach the finish in Valkenburg. So you better eat good (and tasty) food. Burgundians can go to the Hijgend Hert (Vijlen), the Oud Holset (Holset) inn or the Bie de Tantes (Eys) inn. You will also pass many cafes with terraces for coffee and cake. You will certainly reach the finish line on a Limburg flan.Start and finish location: Valkenburg
    Parking: paid parking applies in Valkenburg. Just outside along the route is free.
    Public transport: Train station Valkenburg
    Organizer: Stichting Amstel Gold Race
    Shortened route: komoot.nl/tour/210564004
    Official website: amstel.nl/amstelgoldrace

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    Difficult
    05:49
    81.8 mi
    14.1 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    The Tour of the West Frisian Omringdijk is a tour on the 800-year-old dike that protected the West Frisians against the brute force of the sea. This monumental dike surrounds West Friesland and leads you 135 km through the wide landscape, tulip fields and history of the old port cities.This tour usually starts in Alkmaar, Enkhuizen or Kolhorn. This Tour has Alkmaar as the start and end point Alkmaar and includes 126 km (!) The entire length of the West Frisian Omringdijk. This dike already formed in the 12th century and was raised over the years and eventually connected to a long dike system that surrounds West Friesland.From Alkmaar you drive over the dike to the west and you pass the Otterleek mill and iron mills at Rustenburg. When you arrive at the IJsselmeerdijk, you follow the former Zuiderzeedijk along Hoorn and Enkhuizen. In Enkhuizen, the life of these old fishing villages can be viewed at the Zuiderzee Museum. Do not leave the former Zuiderzee coast until you have tasted a smoked eel.After Medemblik, long straight roads follow over the dike through the interior of West Friesland. Again you pass several mills. Good to mention: part of the proceeds from the more than 2,500 start tickets for the official tour are used for maintenance of the windmills in West Friesland. If you want to donate, stop at one of the mills you pass on the way or sign up for the organized version.In Alkmaar you finish and treat yourself in the De Kleine Deugniet tasting room to a well-deserved beer, of course from the Westfriese Bierbrouwerij.Start and finish location: Station Alkmaar
    Parking: you can park for free at P + R Station Alkmaar, just outside the route.
    Public transport: Station Alkmaar
    Organizer: Le Champion
    Shortened route: komoot.nl/tour/218738035
    Official website: rondevandewestfrieseomringdijk.nl

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    579 mi
  • Duration
    42:43 h
  • Elevation
    12,975 ft

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