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Tour of Flanders thrown a September lifeline

Organizers of Primus Classic prepared to give up September 19 start date if no other option is found.

The Tour of Flanders has been thrown a lifeline by organizers of second-tier race the Primus Classic.

The Tour of Flanders, originally scheduled to run last weekend, was postponed due to coronavirus, leaving organizers Flanders Classics looking to re-schedule in fall. Should Flanders Classics not find a suitable start slot, organizers of Belgian 1.HC race Primus Classic have stated they are prepared to give up its September 19 start as a last resort.

“There have been discussions,” Philip Beke, a member of the Primus Classic organizing committee, told HLN.be, Tuesday. “We may want to lend a helping hand and give up our place once, but only on the condition that our sponsors agree.”

The question mark over sponsor acceptance lies in the fact that both races are backed by beer brewers. Flanders, home of cobbled climb Oude Kwarememont, is sponsored by Kwaremont beer, while Primus Classic is backed by the beer brand of the same name.

The Primus Classic, won last year by Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), will only be sacrificed if the UCI is unable to find an alternative start slot for De Ronde. With the spring classics, Giro d’Italia and a number of stage races all elbowing for space in a potential late-fall calendar, start slots will be hard to come by – although the UCI has already stated that monuments such as the Tour of Flanders will be given priority.

The September 19 slot is just the day before the start of the world championships in Switzerland, which run September 20-27.

The act of charity shown by Primus Classic is a result of Peter Van Petegem being chairman of the organizing committee of the Primus Classic and a member of Flanders Classics.