The Tour of Flanders may not be playing out over the bergs of Belgium today, but there will be another battle to win De Ronde Sunday.
Instead, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck- Quick-Step), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) and more will line up for the virtual Ronde van Vlaanderen in their own front rooms.
The race, organized by Flanders Classics alongside online training platform BKool, will see 13 pros battle it out over a simulated version of the final 32km of De Ronde’s parcours, including e-versions of leg-breaking climbs the Kwaremont and Paterberg.
“The event that all of Flanders is more passionate about than any other will not take place on Sunday 5 April. This prompted Flanders Classics and Belgian national sports broadcaster Sporza to go in search of an innovative alternative that is equally thrilling for both fans and cyclists. Together they present the first virtual edition of Flanders Finest for pro riders: De Ronde2020 – the lockdown edition,” reads a post on De Ronde’s website.
The race will be live-streamed on a number of platforms including Flosports, FUBO and GCN, starting at 1530 CET / 0730 MT. Flanders Classics has also prepared a podcast commemorating the race, which can be listened to at cycling-in-flanders.cc
— Ronde Van Vlaanderen (@RondeVlaanderen) April 4, 2020
— Ronde Van Vlaanderen (@RondeVlaanderen) April 2, 2020
Riders have already begun upping the ante online, with Thomas De Gendt asking if BKool can handle his power output, and van Avermaet predicting a ‘spectacular performance’ from the star-studded lineup.
Earlier today, Mathieu van der Poel and his Alpecin Fenix teammates took part in Zwift’s version of Flanders, Ronde van Zwift. Zwift’s Classics Series of races also start today, with Team Twenty20 among many squads lining up for the Yorkshire Grand Prix,