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près de Achouffe, Wallonia (Belgique)
This great cycling tour takes you through a largely quiet part of the Ardennes, and offers a few challenging cycling cols, among which the most difficult climb of Belgium, according to Cotacol and e.g. www.klimtijd.nl. This tour is suited for the racing bike. There are a few stretches on busier roads, primarily around La-Roche-en-Ardenne, and Houffalize. The tour starts and ends in Achouffe, where you can find the brewery brewing one of the better beers in Belgium. After the tour you could enjoy a cool one in one of the restaurants…. There is a free parking lot at the start which might fill up if you arrive later. Achouffe is close to the motorway and therefore a convenient starting point if you come by car. You can find something to eat and drink in Achouffe, Houffalize, la Roche-en-Ardenne and Dochamps. I rated the difficulty as ‘Difficult’ as the route requires almost continuous climbing/descent and there are a few challenging climbs in the route. However, experienced cyclists might also rate is as ‘Average’.
Directly from the start, you have to climb out of the Eau de Martin Moulin valley towards the N30, passing Mont. You then approach Houffalize via smaller roads via Taverneux. In Houffalize you follow the N860 through the Ourthe valley. Below Grande Mormont the road starts to climb out of the valley, and at Grande Mormont you leave the N860 for quieter roads bringing you to Wibrin. You return to the N860 and directly leave it again for a quieter road to Berismenil. From here you descend via the N860 to Maboge village on the Ourthe. You cross the river and directly start your steep climb of the Pied Monti. Through forest and past chalets you ascend to pasture where the road flattens off until you arrive in Hubermont. Here your descent to la-Roche-en-Ardenne starts. La Roche is a touristic town with castle ruins and plenty of restaurants. It is also the starting point of the Haussire climb, the most difficult climb of Belgium according to the COTACOL-score. This climb starts steep until you get to a graveyard, then actually descends a bit before it climbs further past a zoo, and then descends again before your final climb to the summit. There is a sign indicating this to be the most difficult climb in Belgium and a monument to Claude Criquielion. You then descend on a bad road to the N89, and take this busy road back down to la Roche. You leave the town again on the N833 through the Ourthe valley. At Marcourt you cross the river, and start your next climb Côte de Dochamps Ouest, a long but not too difficult climb towards Dochamps with great views. Just before Dochamps is the summit, and you then descend, climb and descend again before you start your climb of the Côte d'Odeigne. This climb takes you through the quiet town of Odeigne on the northwest flank of the Baraque de Fraiture. The summit is on the N89, from where you descend in the direction of Wibrin through the valley of the Ruisseau de Chevral. Around Wibrin there is a little bit of climbing before you descend all the way back to Achouffe.
Brewery of the famous La Chouffe beers. Can also be visited. See https://chouffe.com/en/brewery-achouffe/
Here the (easy) climb to Wibrin starts, first on the N860, and then on quieter roads
You descend through a quiet valley with pasture, wetlands and forest towards Wibrin
Touristic town on the Ourthe river. You follow this river out of town along the N860
Touristic town on the Ourthe river, with plenty of restaurants and castle ruins.
Small village on the Ourthe
Busier road (N833) in the Ourthe valley
Start of the climb past Odeigne to the N89 on the northwest flank of the Baraque de Fraiture. See also https://www.klimtijd.nl/beklimming/odeigne
This climb starts at the Ourthe valley bridge in Marcourt. The pavement is not too good in the first part, but gets better later. See also https://www.klimtijd.nl/beklimming/dochamps-ouest
Here starts the climb of the most difficult climb in Belgium. See https://www.klimtijd.nl/beklimming/haussire.
Quiet and steep climb between chalets and in the forest. The last part is on pasture with nice views. See https://www.klimtijd.nl/beklimming/pied-monti. The top is in Hubermont
Highest point of the climb. See also https://www.klimtijd.nl/beklimming/dochamps-ouest
Here is the summit of the Haussire climb. See https://www.klimtijd.nl/beklimming/haussire for more information on the climb. On the summit is a monument for Claude Criquielion and a sign indicating this to be the most difficult climb in Belgium (or the Benelux).