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This year’s UCI Road World Championships will take place in Flanders, Belgium. The events began on Sunday 19 September with the men’s elite individual time trial, won by Italian Filippo Ganna.
While we love a good time trial and like to meet the future stars of the sport at the junior and U23 events, for us the best races are the elite women and elite road races. The women’s races on Saturday 25 September and the men’s races on Sunday 26 September, whereby the winner of each event has the right to spend the next year in the rainbow jersey as road world champion.
Each race starts in Antwerp and leads South-east towards Leuven, the city where the goal will be held. Once in Leuven, the race should start in earnest, as each peloton divides their time into one of two laps, each lined with several short, steep – sometimes paved – climbs.
Arrived from Antwerp, the women first cover 1.5 laps on the so-called « Leuven Circuit », a shorter lap that mainly stays within the city limits, then one lap on the « Flandrien Circuit », a longer lap, which leads the race to the southwest towards Overijse, where the riders will find the toughest climbs of the race. Then it goes back to Leuven, where another 2.5 laps of the “Leuven Circuit” conclude the race. The women cover a total of 157.7 km and 20 climbs. (Click here to view the map of the entire route.)
The men’s event follows the same basic formula, but includes more laps per route: 1.5 laps on the “Leuven Circuit”, one lap on the “ Flandrien Circuit ”, four laps on the“ Leuven Circuit ”, another lap on the“ Flandrien Circuit ”and then 2.5 laps on the“ Leuven Circuit ”for a total of 268.3 km and – that’s not a typo – 42 climbs. (Click here for the map of the entire route.)
Both races remind us of two of the Ardennes classics of spring: the Brabantse Pijl, which is driven on some of the same roads and climbs; and the Amstel Gold Race, a long race with many short, crisp climbs. Drivers who traditionally excel in these races should do quite well this weekend.
If you signed up for FloBikes ($ 150 / year or $ 12.50 / month) during Spring Classics and never canceled your subscription, you’re in luck: it’s the only legal way to race in the US and Canada to stream. Both the men’s and women’s events will be available live and on-demand through FloBikes.com, the FloSports IOS app and the FloSports app for Amazon FireTV, Roku and Apple TV. The FloBikes team will also provide plenty of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with key riders.
The women’s event begins at 6:35 p.m. ET. Tune in while you prepare breakfast, get your gear ready for a Saturday afternoon ride or – if you’ve downloaded the FloSports app on your phone – during your child’s soccer practice session on Saturday morning. The race is expected to end around 10:45 a.m. ET, with the final 60 to 90 minutes being the most exciting.
The men’s race on Sunday begins at 4:40 a.m. ET and should last until about 11:00 a.m. ET. We’ll probably turn it on around 9am ET to catch the men doing their second and final lap of the Flandrien Circuit and then the 2.5 laps of the Leuven Circuit to finish the race.
The races, which were originally scheduled in Martigny, Switzerland, have been moved to Imola, Italy due to COVID-19. Two days after winning the women’s individual time trial, Anna van der Breggen from the Netherlands won the women’s road race. Breggen’s compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten came second, while Italian Elisa Longo Borghini came third.
In the men’s race, the French Julian Alaphilippe attacked on the last climb and held back a selected group of pursuers, including the Belgian Wout van Aert, the Swiss Marc Hirschi and the Slovenian Primož Roglič. Van Aert finished second and took his second silver medal of the long weekend (he also finished second at the ITT) and Hirschi finished third and crowned a fantastic summer in which he rode a stage in the Tour de France, won Flèche Wallonne and finished second in Liège – Bastogne – Liège.
Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) – Van der Breggen, the reigning world champion, is expected to compete in her last race before the knockout for the Netherlands, but she will likely race on behalf of van Vleuten, who holds the 2019 world title. As The 38-year-old is the winner of the most recent Cerazit Challenge from La Vuelta – as in almost every race she takes part in.
Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) – Longo Borghini, third last year, is one One-day specialist who has won renowned classics such as the Strade Bianche, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda (twice) and the Tour of Flanders. If a non-Dutchman wins the race, don’t be surprised if she is.
Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland) – Had her career not unfortunately coincided with the careers of van der Breggen, van Vleuten and Marianne Vos Niewiadoma has probably won almost every race on the women’s calendar by now. Instead, she is often forced to settle for podiums and top five finishes, a trend she would like to reverse in Flanders.
Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) – Van Dijk would be the team captain of almost any other nation, but as a Dutchwoman she is just one of the many cards in the squad to play. As the winner of the world championship in the individual time trial on Monday and the recent European road racing championship, she could benefit from the incredible depth of her team when rival teams focus too much on van Vleuten.
Wout van Aert (Belgium) – After the second place in the time trial on Sunday van Aert has now won three silver medals in the last two years. Coupled with a silver medal in the Olympic road race, it is safe to say that the Belgian is driving with a chip on his shoulder. Perhaps the most talented driver in the sport, the only downside against him is the fact that everyone considers him a favorite so he will have few drivers willing to work with him or his Belgian teammates. As the winner of the Amstel Gold Race in April, he is perfectly suited for a course like this.
Julian Alaphilippe (France) – The defending champion is again one of the top favorites of the race and could benefit from having all eyes on Van Aert are directed. With a talented team behind them, including Florian Sénéchal and Christophe Laporte – both drivers who could cause a surprise if they could escape late in the race. Alaphilippe has everything he needs to become the first repetitive world champion since the Slovak Peter Sagan won three titles in a row from 2015 to 2017.
Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) – After falling off the Olympic mountain bike -Event there was a small question mark about the Dutch superstar. But two weeks ago he finally returned to Antwerp Port Epic – and won the race with ease. Even with only three races since the Olympics, he is a top favorite on what is a perfect course for him.
Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia) – The two-time defending champion of the Tour de France has calmly returned after a break after the Olympic Games. Nevertheless, both he and his compatriot Primož Roglič (who has just won the Tour of Spain) are competitors on a route that they would probably want a little tougher – like the Liège – Bastogne – Liège route, which the drivers of this and last one Year, or.
Sonny Colbrelli (Italy) – Colbrelli is the perfect dark horse. As the winner of the most recent European Championship, he built on this success with a victory in the Marco Pantani Memorial. He is in good shape, rides well in Flanders and is a past winner of the Brabantse Pijl. Colbrelli is the perfect type of driver to piss off the big favorites of the race.
Tom Pidcock (Great Britain) – Pidcock, winner of this year’s Brabantse Pijl and runner-up behind van Aert in the Amstel Gold Race, is another driver to win note applies. However, he’s young and has ridden a long season which recently included the Tour of Spain, his first major tour. He and Ethan Hayter will lead a strong and talented British team, with both riders hoping to bring the nation their first rainbow jersey since Mark Cavendish’s world title in 2011.
Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) – Without van Aert, Evenpoel would likely be Belgium Team captain. Instead, he is given a freer role that he could use if the teams let him escape while paying too much attention to his teammate.
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