Cyclists and fans gear up for 107th Tour of Flanders
Cycling fans from all over the world are getting ready for the 107th edition of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, one of the most renowned races of the cycling season. Male riders will cycle 273.4km, from Bruges to Oudenaarde, while the women’s Tour will end after 158km.
For the first time since 2016, the Tour of Flanders will start in Bruges. The race has started in Antwerp for the past six years, but in 2021, the organisers decided it would alternate between Antwerp and Bruges until 2027.
Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel won the last edition of the Flemish cycling classic, the second win of his career. He is expected to be one of the main contenders again this year: he has already won Milano-San Remo this season and came second at the E3 Classic.
He will most likely be challenged by Belgian Wout Van Aert and Slovenian Tadej Pogacar. These riders have dominated the cycling season so far, and will be aiming for their first Tour of Flanders victory. Van Aert has three podium places this season, while Pogacar won Paris-Nice this month.
16,000 amateurs to ride
Like the men, the elite female riders will also ride a Tour of Flanders on Sunday. Their race will be 158km long, with both the start and the end in Oudenaarde. Last year's race was won by Belgian Lotte Kopecky. She is only the second Belgian to win the Tour of Flanders since the introduction of an edition for women in 2004 and hopes to defend her title this weekend.
Cycling fans will not only be able to watch the Tour of Flanders, but they will also get to experience it themselves. In We Ride Flanders on Saturday, cyclists from all over Europe can ride the full 242km from Bruges to Oudenaarde.
In total, We Ride Flanders has 16,000 slots available, of which more than 15,000 are already reserved. The organisers expect around 6,000 Belgians and 10,000 international cyclists to partake. Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo will also participate.
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