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De Kneet

Soigneur x Komoot Tekst Soigneur x Komoot Gepubliceerd 03 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!

“You’ve got to go all the way to the top! Right to the letterbox.”

Gerrie Knetemann set the rules for the Kopje van Bloemendaal, the 44-metre-high sand dune, where bike racers from Amsterdam have long gone to test their form. Watts-per-kilogram and training stress scores are all well and good, but have none of the prestige of setting a fast time on the little brick lane that twists up past leafy villas by the Dutch seaside.

Photo: Jan Bijl

The ‘climb’—and it’s the closest thing to a climb around—lies just 25 kilometres from Amsterdam’s canals. It is only 1.4 kilometres long with an average gradient of 2.3%. Tim Krabbé, author of The Rider, could do it in two minutes and 19 seconds at his best. Bora-Hansgrohe pro Jordi Meeus has the current record. He got up it in two minutes flat. What Knetemann’s best time was no one will ever know.

there is no doubt that de Kneet is still the King of ’t Kopje

Long before the internet, Knetemann would ride figure of eight loops around the climb for hours on end. He died in 2004. But there is no doubt that the former world champion, who won ten stages of the Tour de France, two Amstel Gold Races, and the Tour of the Netherlands four times, before becoming the Dutch national coach, is still the King of ’t Kopje.

Photo: Cor Vos

In 2018, the Dutch postal service removed the letterbox he had dubbed the finish line in order to cut costs. It was hardly used as a letterbox anymore. The local cycling community was bewildered. Sprinting over those red klinkers, with the taste of blood and sea air in their throats, they needed that flash of orange in the distance to aim for. When the postal service realised what it had done, it put up a monument where the letterbox had been. Orange, it marks the official top of the climb, with a photo of Knetemann in full flight.

Fast as you might go, you’ll never be as fast as De Kneet.

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.

Route Warning Tips
Komoots Route Warning tips deliver helpful info and will let you know when your planned route includes any restricted or potentially unsuitable terrain. Or when you’ll need to dismount. For example, for steps, a ferry crossing, or if you have a short section of footpath included in your route.