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.
We woke up to snow this morning in Belgium ❄️No worries, we fired up @GoZwift and the guys jumped on their @tacx trainers. Those Virtual Training Camp sessions coming in handy 🙌 pic.twitter.com/tKeTiR9CllApril 1, 2022
Spring has arrived and so has the snow.🇪🇸 #GPIndurain ❄️ 🇧🇪 #RVV22#UAETeamEmirates #WeAreUAE pic.twitter.com/1rqhJDbJzZApril 1, 2022
🇧🇪 #RVV22the new way of recon… 😂 pic.twitter.com/VweQj1rutZApril 1, 2022
Meet the eighth rider of our #RVV22 squad 😤 pic.twitter.com/TLx5RwGRM5April 1, 2022
April doet wat hij wil. @RondeVlaanderen pic.twitter.com/1TvGxdySVyApril 1, 2022
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