The Tour of Flanders is a Belgian spring Classic that dates back 100 years, with the first edition run in 1913 by the newspaper ‘Sportwereld’. It is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious classics and the most important race in the Flanders Region.
This year’s edition is 256 kilometres long, starts in Brugge and sees the riders climb 17 cobbled hills (called ‘bergs’ in Belgium), though many of the climbs are repeated as the race takes in a number of loops, including the Paterberg and the Oude Kwaremont that are ascended three times each by the riders.
The Paterberg has an average gradient of 12.9% and reaches over 20% at its steepest point, and the rough cobbles ensure that this is a painful climb for the peloton.
The finish in Oudenaarde comes 13 kilometres after the riders reach the summit of the Paterberg for the last time, and any of the fast men who are still with the leaders will fancy their chances of a victory.
Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara are both proven Classics riders and have shown great early season form, but both riders will be eagerly watched by the peloton.
This could open up the race for riders like Geraint Thomas, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Sylvain Chavanel, as they might be able to sneak themselves into a breakaway while Sagan and Cancellara are being tightly marked.
It promises to be a fantastic race and you can follow all the action here on The Roar from 9:00pm AEST