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First rider up the Kwaremont on Sunday will win cash prize for charity

In honour of Stig Broeckx's continued recovery, the first rider up the Kwaremont will win a total of €10k for charity. Photo: P. Verhoest

The Oude Kwaremont is one of the most iconic ascents in world cycling. It may not have the hairpins of Alpe d'Huez or the moonscape appearance of Mont Ventoux, but what it lacks in altitude it more than makes up for in brutality and its ability to draw the biggest crowds.

What's more, the cobbled climb that forms a key part of the Tour of Flanders route even has a very popular beer named after it. Kwaremont, a blond beer that tastes even better at the end of a gruelling ride in proper Flandrian conditions, has an alcohol percentage of 6.6 to mirror the cobbled climb's average gradient.

To continue the assocation between climb and namesake beer, riders are often rewarded in ale for their exploits on the race. However, this year that spot prize has taken on an altogether more altruistic feel.

A new partnership between the Belgian National Lottery and race organiser Flanders Classics will see the awarding of the 'Grote Prijs Stig Broeckx' at the men's Tour of Flanders this weekend for the first rider to cover the 4km from Kluisbergen to the summit of the Oude Kwaremont.

The climb is tackled three times during the race so the prize will be awarded upon the first ascent. This stands a breakaway rider in good stead to crest the summit first, so expect to see one of Broeckx's teammates going hard up the long cobbled climb.

The prize is €5,000 for the rider to award to the charity of their choice. The lottery will also allocate another €5,000 for Broeckx to pass on to a charity of his choosing.

It's almost three years since Broeckx was left in a coma after a serious incident during a race. The Lotto-Soudal rider has been on a long journey of recovery ever since and it was this that inspired the Belgian National Lottery to initiate the prize.

'Thanks to our players, we can invest in numerous social projects with a humanitarian, social, sporting, and/or cultural objective,' the lottery said of the new race-within-a-race prize.

'This action fits in perfectly with the vision of the Belgian National Lottery. It seemed only obvious to us to give something back to Stig. We are therefore very pleased that Flanders Classics wishes to support this initiative.'