2021 Dwars door Vlaanderen

Dwars Door Vlaanderen, One Final Tune-Up For Tour Of Flanders

Dwars Door Vlaanderen, One Final Tune-Up For Tour Of Flanders

Dwars door Vlaanderen returns the Wednesday before the Tour of Flanders, traversing hills and cobbles, and serving as one final tune-up.

Mar 11, 2021 by Rebecca Reza
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The 2021 Dwars Door Vlaanderen returns on Wednesday, March 31st, after its cancellation last season. The mid-week race bridges the gap between Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, serving as one final tuneup for the main event of the Flanders Classics.  

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Another Van Der Poel Show?

The course includes 12 hills and three pavé sections for the men, with the opening half of the race relatively flat. Mathieu Van Der Poel will return to defend his 2019 title. The Dutchman is on fire after winning Strade Bianche by surging away from both Wout Van Aert (Jumbo – Visma) and the current World Champion, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick Step) on the final climb.

Beginning in Roeselare, the race kicks off with riders steaming ahead at full gas, fighting to escape to form what is often the winning breakaway.  They will face flat, open roads during the first half of the course, before the true suffering begins facing the hills and pavé sections in the second half. After settling into their rhythm, the escape artists will hope to work together to maintain their gap, before seeing who will have the punch in their legs in the final kilometers ahead of the traditional finish in Waregem. 

The women’s race begins prior to the men’s start. In 2019, chaos ensued following a crash in the women’s peloton. The men’s race was neutralized as they approached the aftermath of the crash, forcing both the break and the peloton to pause for several minutes. Shortly after restarting, the breakaway caught up to the women’s peloton and was forced to stop again by the commissaries, before they were able to start for a third time to re-establish the gap. 

Trek-Segafredo And SD Worx Bring Heavyweight Rosters 

Ellen Van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) won that in 2019, thanks to her time trialing strengths. After spending most of the day in the break, she was able claim a second consecutive victory in a nail-biting finale. Expect Trek-Segafredo to arrive with a stellar squad to back her, including Lucinda Brand, Lizzie Deignan, and Elisa Longo Borghini who recently finished second at Strade Bianche. 

SD Worx powered into the 2021 season, winning both Strade Bianche Donne with Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with current World Champion, Anna Van Der Breggen. The newest incarnation of the Boels-Dolmans program also has Amy Pieters in their ranks, a 3x champion of the race.

Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana) finished second in 2019 and Sheyla Gutierrez (Team Movistar) a former top five finisher, are other riders to watch out for.  

25 teams will start the 75th edition for the men’s 180km race, and 28 women’s team for the 9th edition of their 130km course. 

Start lists are far from finalized, but expect most of the Tour of Flanders contenders to be in attendance, sharpening their form for the main event. Riders who may make an appearance are Yves Lampaert, a 2x consecutive winner prior to Van der Poel. Tiesj Benoot (Team DSM) was in the breakaway with Van der Poel in 2019. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) has shown great form at Paris-Nice and appears motivated for the classics after missing many of them in 2020. A big question mark hangs around Julian Alaphilippe who has never before raced Dwars Door Vlaanderen, but would be an instant favorite should Deceuninck-Quick Step add him to their roster.

Stay tuned to FloBikes for final roster announcements and of course to watch all the Flanders Classics live in the U.S., Canada and Australia.