With the Paris-Roubaix cancelled, cycling fans shift their attention to the Ronde van Vlaanderen. In this Flemish classic, the champions of the Total Direct Energie Pro Cycling Team (and their Ursus wheels) will have to deal with the characteristic pavé slopes, which have contributed to making this event famous.
Of course, it will be quite a peculiar Flanders, characterized by the absence of an audience on the streets. At high risk of cancellation in recent days, the Flemish classic will take place (unlike the Paris-Roubaix, postponed to the next edition). However, the Belgian authorities have decided to increase security measures, urging fans not to take to the streets: the Covid-19 emergency is frightening to the point of inducing the organizers not to make any final decisions on the route, which will therefore remain secret. The police will also patrol all the areas around the walls, traditional meeting places for the loudest fans. The show is still on schedule, however, with many big names ready to battle with the aim of becoming the new Lion of Flanders.
TOUR OF FLANDERS: MANY GREATS AT THE START
Peter Sagan will not be there, as he’ll be competing for the Giro d'Italia, but the challenge will be heated. In the cyclocross period, we cannot but point out two Dutch champions, Mathieu Van der Poel and Vout van Aert, as favorites. The two multifaceted orange rivals will have to deal in particular with the defending champion, the Italian Alberto Bettiol, who will compete in search of a historic encore (among Italian riders, only Fiorenzo Magni has managed to earn more than one career success, with his three gems collected between '49 and '51), along with the champion Alaphilippe, seen in excellent shape in recent events.
In the startlist we will see winners Van Avermaet, Kristoff, but above all our Niki Terpstra, spearhead of the Total Direct Energie Pro Cycling Team. The Netherlander experienced a troubled start to the season due to a bad accident last June which forced him to miss the Tour de France. He will therefore be motivated to find his stride in a type of route he had previously tried in the pre-season.
Among Italian riders, in addition to the previously mentioned Bettiol, Matteo Trentin is one to watch. The young cyclist from Trentino is also eagerly awaited and may try for the winning sprint.
AN EDITION WITH VARIOUS QUESTION MARKS
While you’re waiting to find out who will raise their arms to the sky at the Tour of Flanders, we remind you that the mileage of the race is not yet known. We know that the cyclists will start from Antwerp to reach the finish line in Oudenaarde. If we had to guess based on the program released in spring by the organizers, we might think that there will be the most well-known Muurs, i.e. short climbs with a very steep slope – often double digits in incline – made even more insidious by the cobblestone (the so-called pavé). For this reason, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg may be tackled more than once, then Kruisberg, Taaienberg and Koppenberg among the most challenging.
Another element of uncertainty is the weather. As we know, this race is part of the Spring Classics and as such it is normally held at the beginning of April: the 2020 edition will instead be remembered as the first in history to be held in late October, with more rigid temperatures and with rain always round the corner.
TOUR OF FLANDERS: URSUS WHEELS TESTED ON THE PAVÉ
What are the Ursus wheels that will take part in the Tour of Flanders? The riders of the Total Direct Energie Team will have several models available, but above all two new features in our catalogue deserve a special mention. Miura TR47 disc and Miura TC47 disc are two new wheel sets developed by Ursus precisely for events with mixed endurance courses similar to the one that will be seen on October 18th in Belgium. Do you want to know more about the new wheels used by Terpstra and teammates? Read this article and have fun with the Tour of Flanders!