Dwars door Vlaanderen, finalizing the preparation before Flanders

Road 27/03/23 16:56 Migue A.

With all the work already done for the Tour of Flanders, the classicists still have one last chance, on Wednesday 29th, to fine-tune their form and achieve the optimum racing rhythm in the Dwars door Vlaanderen, a race that does not usually feature the big favorites to win the second monument but which, in exchange, offers an exciting competition with interesting alternatives.

The penultimate ration of walls and cobblestones

Perhaps, together with Scheldeprijs, which takes place next week, the most unnoticed classics of the Belgian calendar, as they are placed as a midweek prelude to Flanders and Roubaix respectively.

However, in the case of this Dwars door Vlaanderen, which takes place on Wednesday 29, we are facing a World Tour category race, which undoubtedly is a good opportunity to shine for cyclists who in recent times have no choice but to be in the shadow of the great dominators as we saw this past weekend with the overwhelming triumph of Jumbo-Visma, which won both races: E3 Saxo Classic and Ghent-Wevelgem.

Range of favorites

Taking place just a few days before the big event of the Flemish calendar, the Tour of Flanders, many of the main favorites to win the monument decide to skip this race to let the body recover and take advantage of the opportunity to recognize the different sections of the race, even though many of them have already been ridden several times in the classics in recent weeks.

Only the second step in the ranking of favorites for Flanders and those riders who for one reason or another arrive a little short of racing pace usually make an appearance in this race. In fact, if we refer to the record, the victories of Mathieu Van der Poel in 2019 and last year, after which he scored his second victory in the Tour of Flanders, stand out in recent years. The Dutchman, who has already shown that his machinery is ready to perform at its best next Sunday, will not be this year's starter.

On the other hand, Tom Pidcock will be the most notable name among the participants in this Dwars door Vlaanderen, his last chance to compete before the Tour of Flanders after two weeks in the dry dock following the crash suffered on the last day of Tirreno-Adriatico that gave him a concussion that has prevented him from competing in application of the UCI protocol for these cases.

In the absence of Van der Poel, the number 1 bib will fall on the shoulders of Jasper Philipsen, who has had a great start to the season after the two stage wins he achieved in Tirreno-Adriatico and, above all, the fantastic display of strength with which he won a few days ago in the Brugge-De Panne Classic, in which he formed the final cut by sheer power under dreadful cold and rainy conditions, supported the weight of the breakaway against the push from behind by Soudal-QuickStep and finished off the final sprint almost unopposed. The less demanding route of this Dwars door Vlaanderen is perfectly suited to his abilities so it would not be surprising if he could add his 4th victory of the year.

Another who will be able to enjoy the opportunity offered by the absence of the great dominators is Greg Van Avermaet who, far from his best years, has shown the know-how in the races that have taken place but without the necessary legs to be in the final selection when the pace is really tightened.

For its part, the all-powerful Jumbo-Visma will put the leadership of this race in Dylan Van Baarle, who after his impressive victory in the opening weekend in which he won the Omloop Het Niewsblad, has been tremendously discreet, with two withdrawals in Tirreno-Adriatico and E3. The yellow squad will count on Tiesj Benoot as an alternative.

Who has surprised us in recent days by going further and showing ambition despite always having to fight against is the former world champion Mads Pedersen who has linked good roles in Milan-San Remo, E3 and Ghent-Wevelgem but a step behind what is necessary to be able to fight for the victory. Here in Dwars door Vlaanderen he will have, with a course more appropriate for his characteristics, a great option to win a classic.

Dwars door Vlaanderen 2023 Route

Both for the distance, less than 200 kilometers, and for the difficulties to be overcome in a race that avoids the main walls, the Dwars door Vlaanderen is ideal for other cyclists to shine who in normal conditions would not have the opportunity to appear even among the main groups, which also makes possible other tactical situations that make this race a very attractive event for those who like cycling regardless of names.

From the start in Roeselare, a long flat approach section, ideal to fight for the breakaway of the day, serves to bring the cyclists closer to the Flemish hills around Oudenaarde where the walls and cobbled sections that we enjoy in all these races are located. Despite not going through the most well-known and mythical sections, the cyclists will have to overcome 11 walls, with the Knokteberg, which is ridden twice, as the most remarkable point, to which must be added the 8 flat cobblestone sections that, without being as hard as those found on the French side, in the end are selective enough to put everyone in their place.

How to watch Dwars door Vlaanderen 2023

As usual, the only option we have to follow the race live will be the self-titled House of Cycling. Eurosport will broadcast the Dwars door Vlaanderen next Wednesday 29th through its Eurosport 1 channel between 14:10 and 17:00 when it is scheduled to finish. Of course, we will also be able to follow it through its digital platform and the associated service GCN+.



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