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Snow disrupts the build-up to Tour of Flanders – Gallery

After a week of blue skies and T-shirt temperatures, northern Belgium was plunged into an icebox on Thursday night, with snow falling into Friday morning and disrupting many teams' preparations for the Tour of Flanders

Conditions were unseasonably clement at last week's Classic Brugge-De Panne and E3 Saxo Bank Classic and despite greyer skies at Gent-Wevelgem and Dwars door Vlaanderen, the warm weather persisted. 

That all changed suddenly on Thursday evening as a cold snap hit the Flanders region. By the early hours of Friday morning, there was a layer of snow on the rooftops and, crucially, on many of the country roads and cobbled climbs of the Tour of Flanders route. 

The snow fell lightly through the morning but the temperatures slowly picked up by lunchtime, by which point much of the snow that had managed to stick began to melt. 

By then, however, it had already played havoc with team's plans for the day. Two days out from the Tour of Flanders, Friday was the day most teams had chosen to go out and do reconnaissance rides of the parcours in the Flemish Ardennes. 

Numerous teams have had to change their plans. Ineos Grenadiers, Bahrain Victorious, Bora-Hansgrohe, and Groupama-FDJ have all canned their recon rides on Friday. They'll all head out on Saturday instead. Ineos and Bora posted images to social media of their 'alternate' recons on Thursday, with the teams riding on turbo trainers instead.

In the case of Bahrain, their team leader Matej Mohorič had already postponed his flight to Belgium when he saw the forecast earlier in the week. He is due to arrive on Friday evening and head out on Saturday, now with the rest of his teammates.

BikeExchange-Jayco also had a long recon ride planned but opted to spend the morning inside doing strength and conditioning, as well as a short spin on the rollers. They're heading out onto the road for a shortened recon later in the afternoon. 

Some teams, however, have braved the conditions and are heading out as planned, with AG2R Citroën among them as well as Tadej Pogačar's UAE Team Emirates squad.

Mathieu van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix squad have not organised a full team recon at all, with individual riders free to head out when they wish. Some teams, such as Jumbo-Visma, QuickStep-AlphaVinyl, Trek-Segafredo, and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert avoided the bad weather, having done their recon rides on Thursday, while others still have riders flying in and will only head out on Saturday. 

Despite the arctic blast, conditions are expected to improve by race day. Although it will be bitterly cold at the early-morning start in Antwerp, it should remain dry. The temperature is then predicted to pick up and there could even be some brighter spells, with a moderate wind from the north.

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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.