The first virtual Tour of Flanders ever, which the riders rode on their indoor trainers at home, has its winner. Greg Van Avermaet made it after an ultimate acceleration on the Paterberg. He kept his lead and was able to raise his arms in the air at home. He can now call himself the winner of DeRonde2020 - the lockdown edition. Oliver Naesen and Nicolas Roche complete the podium.
The riders had to face the final 32km of the Tour of Flanders. Not long after the start the climb of the Kruisberg awaited. First acceleration is from Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), on the Kruisberg he rides away from the rest of the peloton. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First), the winner of the Tour of Flanders 2019, is able to join him in the descent. They will be accompanied by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Nicholas Roche (Team Sunweb).
In the pursuit, it's mainly Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) and Greg Van Avermaet (Team CCC) who give their all at home to close the gap. And that succeeds. A leading group of 6 riders forms in the run-up to the Oude Kwaremont. Just before the climb Bettiol, who is riding from Lugano, has a hard time. He gets dropped from the front of the race and doesn't have a chance to take the win anymore.
During the climb of the Oude Kwaremont there is a small lead for Evenepoel and De Gendt, but they don't get away. Van Avermaet, Naesen and also Roche come back soon. On the end of the Oude Kwaremont, Evenepoel sees his chance to try again. Again he manages to get a lead, but just like before in the race it merges together again at the front.
The last climb of this virtual course is, just like in the real Tour of Flanders, the Paterberg. No cobblestones on the indoor trainers, but the gradient is accurate. Van Avermaet turns the throttle firmly open and flies up the virtual Paterberg. Once at the top, the Olympic champion had a nice lead.
Van Avermaet seems to give everything he has in him. The chasers, with Naesen, Roche and De Gendt, are not getting any closer. At home in Grembergen Van Avermaet is riding to victory in DeRonde2020 - the lockdown edition. In the pursuit Naesen attempts a final attack at 2.5 km from the finish. Roche comes back on the wheel and they will sprint for second place. Naesen, with the necessary grimace on his face, eventually makes it.
Meanwhile, Greg Van Avermaet puts his arms in the air at home, surrounded by wife and children. De Ronde2020 - the lockdown edition was not only a unique experience for the riders and the organisation, but undoubtedly also for the viewers at home.
We hope you enjoyed this alternative Tour of Flanders!