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Van Avermaet Wins Tour of Flanders Virtual Race!

April 5, 2020

Teams/Riders

With professional road racing on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, fans were treated to the next best thing Sunday with a star-studded virtual race of the Tour of Flanders Belgian spring classic. CCC Team rider Greg Van Avermaet proved the fastest of the bunch, earning a hard-fought victory in a unique event that was broadcast live on the internet all around the world.

The De Ronde 2020 Lockdown Edition featured 13 top professionals on their home trainers hooked up to the Bkook indoor training platform. They raced the final 32 kilometers of the Flanders route including the iconic climbs of Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg. Van Avermaet, a Belgian who calls the Tour of Flanders his favorite race, has three podium finishes and eight top-10 finishes at the cobblestone classic.

Riding his TCR Advanced SL Disc team bike, Van Avermaet broke away from the field with 12km left to take the solo victory. Fellow Belgian Oliver Naesen was runner-up at 20 seconds back, and Irishman Nicolas Roche finished third at 21 seconds back. While Van Avermaet said he’s not very experienced in indoor cycling, the 2016 Olympic champion showed that he has been able to maintain top form during this time.

“I had no idea how this would work,” Van Avermaet said. “The first time, you don’t what to expect but it was really hard.”

Van Avermaet said he was dropped on one of the early climbs, but was able to make it back into the group. He averaged more than 400 watts for the 43-minute race, riding clear of the group and pushing 48 kph and 500 watts in the final 10km.

“It was survival of the fittest at the end,” he said. “It’s something nice to do in these times and I think it’s good for the sponsors and cycling in general. I’m missing the real Flanders. It’s my favorite race so when they came up with this idea I was quite happy that we could give the spectators something back. It’s not the real Flanders but at least it’s some entertainment. Hopefully we are soon back on the roads for the real climbs.”

For a full replay of the event on YouTube, click here.

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