All of the Causes You Gained’t Need to Miss the Tour of Flanders

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All the Reasons You Won’t Want to Miss the Tour of Flanders


This season’s closing Basic simply is perhaps one of the best.

Initially scheduled to be held in early April, the 2020 Tour of Flanders (or the “Ronde van Vlaanderen” because it’s known as in Belgium) was pushed to October resulting from COVID-19.

Right here’s all the pieces it’s worthwhile to find out about this season’s fourth and closing Monument, and essentially the most prestigious race on the Belgian calendar, which takes place Sunday, October 18.

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The Route

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The boys’s race begins in Antwerp and heads southwest towards the hills of the Flemish Ardennes, a area stuffed with brief, steep cobbled climbs which the locals name bergs. As soon as the race passes by Oudenaarde, the motion facilities round two large loops, every that includes the 2 climbs—the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg—that usually decide the result of the race.

The 244km course is likely one of the most difficult in professional biking, with slim, winding farm roads that appear to wind endlessly across the Flemish countryside. Because of this it typically takes years for riders to grasp the nuances of the course, as a rider’s place heading into every of the race’s key climbs can typically make the distinction between successful and dropping.

Of the 17 climbs on this yr’s males’s race, the Koppenberg (44km from the end line) might be essentially the most well-known. Tremendous-steep, cobbled, and slim, that is the place the race’s closing section begins. Riders who don’t hit the climb on the entrance of the peloton are sometimes compelled to get off their bikes and stroll because the sudden deceleration ripples by the pack.

After the Koppenberg, 5 extra climbs stay, and up to date editions of the race have seen the race-winning assaults come on the ultimate three: the Kruisberg, the Oude Kwaremont, and at last, the Paterberg. From the highest of the Paterberg it’s solely 14km to the end line in Oudenaarde, a distance that a number of riders have coated alone lately. One of many hardest races on the calendar, the strongest rider all the time wins the Ronde.

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The 136km girls’s race begins and ends in Oudenaarde, with 11 climbs and 4 further sectors of cobblestones. Whereas the ladies’s race skips the Koppenberg, the finale is identical as the lads’s with the Kruisberg, the Oude Kwaremont, and the Paterberg coming in fast succession earlier than the 14km trip again to the end in Oudenaarde.

Tips on how to Watch

When you subscribed to FloBikes ($12.50/month) earlier than the Giro d’Italia earlier within the month, then you definitely’re in fine condition for the Tour of Flanders. Each the lads’s and ladies’s occasions shall be obtainable stay and on-demand within the U.S. and Canada on FloBikes.com, the FloSports IOS app, and the FloSports app for Amazon FireTV, Roku, and Apple TV. The FloBikes crew can even be offering numerous behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with key riders.

Given this yr’s condensed rescheduled calendar, the organizers have carried out followers a favor by scheduling each races across the anticipated arrival of Stage 15 of the Giro, a summit end on Piancavallo that you just received’t wish to miss.

So if all goes as deliberate, you’ll be capable of watch the end of the lads’s Tour of Flanders at about 9:45 a.m. EDT (tune in about 90 minutes earlier to see the joy from the Koppenberg by to the end), then change over to the top of the Giro’s Stage 15, and at last catch the top of the ladies’s Tour of Flanders at about 11:30 a.m. If it really works, Sunday may very well be one of the best day of biking all yr.

What Occurred Final Yr

Final yr, EF Training First’s Alberto Bettiol grew to become the primary Italian since 2007 to win the Tour of Flanders. The Italian attacked on the third and closing ascent of the Oude Kwaremont and time-trialed his solution to a solo victory. Behind him, Fast-Step’s Kasper Asgreen attacked from a small group of chasers to complete second, 14 seconds behind Bettiol; and UAE’s Alexander Kristoff received the dash for third, 3 seconds later. Amazingly, the win was Bettiol’s first skilled victory—fairly an achievement for the then-25-year-old from Tuscany.

Earlier within the day, Workforce Virtu’s Marta Bastianelli set-up Italy’s clear sweep by successful the ladies’s Tour of Flanders. The then-European Champion additionally attacked on the Oude Kwaremont, pulling away with Mitchelton-Scott’s Annemiek van Vleuten, Bigla’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, CC-Liv’s Marianne Vos, and Canyon-SRAM’s Katia Niewiadoma. Vos flatted and Niewiadoma was dropped on the Paterberg, leaving Bastianelli, van Vleuten, and Uttrup Ludwig to combat for the win. Bastianelli had no bother beating her companions to start Italy’s good day in Flanders.

Riders to Watch

Within the males’s race, all eyes shall be on Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert, winner of Strade Bianche and Milan-Sanremo, and Canyon-Fenix’s Mathieu van der Poel, who received final yr’s Dwars door Vlaanderen, Brabantsepijl, and the Amstel Gold Race.

Two of one of the best younger Classics riders within the sport, their rivalry may need price them every an opportunity to win Sunday’s Ghent-Wevelgem, after which van Aert accused van der Poel of racing solely to stop van Aert from successful. To make issues extra attention-grabbing, van Aert is Belgian and van der Poel is Dutch—so possibly it’s a very good factor (for the Dutchman) that followers have been banned from spectating on the race’s climbs and cobbled sectors.

Different contenders embrace Bettiol, who’s proven himself to be in advantageous form with a 4th-place end in Ghent-Wevelgem, and Fast-Step’s Julian Alaphippe (the reigning world champion) who’s racing his first Tour of Flanders however can by no means be counted-out. Fast-Step truly has a number of playing cards to play with Asgreen, final yr’s runner-up, and skilled Classics stars like Zdenek Stybar and Yves Lampaert. The Belgian crew has made a enterprise of successful this race for many years, and has by far the deepest and most skilled crew.

We’re additionally keeping track of Trek-Segafredo, who brings Ghent-Wevelgem winner Mads Pederson and Jasper Stuyven who received the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (kind of a mini-version of the Tour of Flanders) again in late-February. Given the van Aert-van der Poel rivalry and Fast-Step’s spectacular roster, they could fly a bit underneath the radar–and will definitely use that to their benefit.

Initially, all 5 protagonists from the finale of final yr’s girls’s race have been scheduled to start out, with Bastianelli and Uttrup Ludwig now using for Alé BTC Ljubljana and FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope, respectively.

However on Friday, Cyclingnews.com reported that the Alé BTC Ljubljana crew is not going to be beginning at this yr’s Flanders after having a COVID-19 an infection on the squad, thus taking defending champ Bastianelli out of the sphere. Different girls’s groups, together with Astana, Chevalmeire, additionally withdrew due to COVID-19 issues.

The season up to now has been dominated by van Vleuten, who regardless of crashing out of the latest Giro Rosa continues to be a risk, and Boels-Dolmans’s Anna van der Breggan, who received the Giro Rosa, each World Championship occasions, and Flèche Wallonne. In all, eight of the final 9 winners of the ladies’s Tour of Flanders are collaborating, together with American Coryn Rivera, who received the race in 2017.

Even in a traditional season, the Tour of Flanders is all the time some of the thrilling races on the calendar. However given the latest cancellation of Paris-Roubaix—and the truth that COVID-19 is spreading all through the Giro d’Italia—we’re ensuring we savor each second of the 2020 season whereas it lasts.

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