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Classic Cobbles

Soigneur x Komoot Tekst Soigneur x Komoot Gepubliceerd 27 May 2021

Soigneur and Komoot present a collection of Iconic Dutch Rides, from a friendly loop to a hard day in the saddle. Ga toch fietsen!

Five-thousand years ago, Drenthe’s inhabitants built megaliths in the forest to house the remains of their ancestors and host rituals. Their ‘hunebedden’ are quite like France’s dolmens.

By the early 20th century, much of the province’s rolling wilderness was being turned into agricultural land, and the rocks that emerged from the soil were being used to pave tracks for the farmers’ tractors. Garbage from the rest of the Netherlands was being sent to Drenthe by the Vuil Afvoer Maatschappij (Garbage Disposal Company) as well. It was piled up in a spot just north of Hoogeveen. The VAM’s dump reached a height of 56 metres, before the authorities decided to bury it in earth and grass and build a small road over it for their vehicles. For years, the artificial hill was closed to the public, except during the Ronde van Drenthe, when the women’s and men’s professional pelotons raced over it. Local cyclists were envious. They could rattle through the forest over the farmers’ cobbles—which aren’t really cobbles at all, but un-hewn rocks—and push against the wind out in the open fields, but there were no real hills around where they could test their strength.

Photo: Cor Vos

So, in 2018, the local government decided to renovate the VAM-hill and turn it into the Col du VAM for cyclists. They built a mountain-bike track and an asphalt circuit that curls up, down, and around the garbage-filled hill. Over the top, they laid local stones to form a 150-metre sector of cobbles on a 15% pitch.

For years, the artificial hill was closed to the public, except during the Ronde van Drenthe, when the women’s and men’s professional pelotons raced over it

It is there that Mathieu van der Poel attacked from the peloton during his legendary victory in the last Dutch national championships. The Dutch championships will take place on the VAM-berg again this year. It is becoming a ritual, one local cyclists can relive every time they climb that cobbled path over the old tip.

We have come quite a ways, haven’t we?

Header photo: Cor Vos

Click on the route below to plan your ride on Komoot:

What is Komoot?
Komoot is an app that lets you find, plan, and share adventures with the easy route planner. Driven by a desire to explore, and powered by the outdoor community’s recommendations, it’s komoot’s mission to inspire great adventures making them accessible to all.

Waytype and surface profiles
Use the Komoot waytypes and surface information to see exactly the type of terrain you’ll be riding. Click on the surface or waytype profiles, to see each of the categories highlighted on the map Tour line. This way if there is an odd bit of ‘unpaved’ you can easily find and remove it. Or even better, see how much and where all the fun cobbles and gravel is on your route.