The Tour of Flanders, scheduled for Sunday but cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be replaced by a short virtual race.
The Flemish public television channel and the organisers of the classic, one of cycling’s five one-day ‘monuments’, has recruited 13 riders to race on rollers by riders from the confinement of their own homes.
The field is led by defending champion Alberto Bettiol, and several prominent Belgians including Remco Evenepoel, Greg Van Avermaet and Wout Van Aert. The “Ronde 2020” will be broadcast on TV from 3.30 pm and will last an hour.
“In a closed tour reserved exclusively for professional cyclists, 13 pros will be competing during the last 32 km of the Tour of Flanders – on their home trainers,” read a statement. “Thanks to Kiswe we will be able to watch the riders tackle a virtual Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg in real-time on the Bkool platform.”
“The Officially Unbelievable Ronde van Vlaanderen will transport cycling fans to an era of unwritten, thrilling cycling history — just as if you were listening to the commentary to a genuine, live cycling race,” Flanders Classics said. “Get ready for a story with some incredible plot twists, featuring cameo appearances by heroes from one hundred years of cycling history such as Eddy Merckx, Johan Museeuw, Fabian Cancellara, Mario Cipollini, Briek Schotte, Bradley Wiggins, Fausto Coppi and the Van der Poel family.”
The riders will cover the last 32 kilometres, over the race’s final two climbs, Oude-Kwaremont and Paterberg.
The commentary will be provided by the usual Sporza team.