Riders recon the Tour of Flanders cobbles – Gallery
Van Aert, Sagan, Alaphilippe and Uttrup Ludwig among top riders scouting the De Ronde course
This Sunday, all eyes are on the biggest race in Belgium for the finale of the spring cobbled Classics with the Tour of Flanders and Tour of Flanders Women.
As a group of major, one-day races for the men, it began in late February with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, starting up again in late March with the Classic Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem, among others. Flanders concludes this block of Classics, with Paris-Roubaix moved to early October due to the COVID-19 situation in France.
On Friday afternoon, teams took to the roads – cobbled and paved – to check out sections of this year's parcours. For the men it will be a mammoth 263.7 kilometres, with 20 climbs including the fearsome Koppenberg and the closing Oude Kwaremont-Paterberg circuit.
Last year's runner-up Wout van Aert will be back to try to take the title. Along with his Jumbo-Visma team, other big names were seen out on the course, including past winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), World Champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), 2019 winner Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) and Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos).
The women's Tour de Flanders is the biggest one-day race on the Women's WorldTour. The 2021 route will cover 152 kilometres with 13 climbs and five cobblestone sections, with the final two climbs over the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, before the 13km run-in to Oudenaarde.
"I'll risk everything because either you take a risk and win big, or lose big," said Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), who was out training Friday, about the race.
Among the Women's WorldTour teams taking advantage of sunshine on Friday in Belgium were Canyon-SRAM, with Lisa Klein seen riding on the climbs and cobbles with teammates, and Movistar Women.
“The race has everything, and even without the crowds it’s still one of the most iconic and prestigious races we have on the calendar,” said Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) about Tour of Flanders after the pre-ride.
Cyclingnews will provide full reports, results, news, interviews, and analysis throughout the races on Sunday. Find out how to watch both races, wherever you are, with our handy guide.
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