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Dwars door het Hageland is normally part of the eight-race Bingoal Cup that this year has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic-induced cancellations. Only the Grote prijs Jean-Pierre Monseré has been held so far, with Deceuninck-Quickstep's Fabio Jakobsen taking the win in March.
The field will be wide open for the 187km lumpy circuit in the Flemish Brabant. With gravel roads, sections of cobblestones and a few short, sharp hills and an uphill finish, it's Belgium's answer to Strade Bianche.
Normally held in June before the national championships, the Dwards door het Hageland is in mid-August after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered all public events through the end of July.
It unfortunately overlaps with the Critérium du Dauphiné but it provides a nice warm-up race for the VOO-Tour de Wallonie which begins the next day.
The race favours opportunists with past winners such as Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis), Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).
None of the former champions will be on the start list this year, but look for Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep), Trek-Segafredo's Matteo Moschetti or Quinn Simmons to be among the contenders.
World champion Mads Pedersen was due to compete in the race but he has not recovered from his crash in the Tour de Pologne.
The race is going ahead without Rally Cycling, Canyon-DHB and Nippo Delko Provence as riders on those teams were concerned about possibly having to quarantine if they left the country.
Dwars door het Hageland 202016 August 2020 | Diest | 1.Pro
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