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De Ronde 2020: virtual and live on tv

Belgium is suffering. Though a small country, we currently hold the tenth position in the list of deaths due to covid-19.

I’m sure you all know the feeling.

But to ease the suffering a wee bit, this Sunday there will be cycling. De Ronde even, a brand new edition, live on tv!

Flanders Classics got 13 pros to sign up for a virtual edition of RVV. The riders will complete the last 32k on their rollers at home. The race will be live on Sporza, with virtual images from the computer program and live images from the riders homes.

Here’s a video on twitter I’m completely failing at embedding.

Which riders? Well, the big ones.

  • Greg Van Avermaet - CCC Team (BEL)
  • Oliver Naesen - AG2R La Mondiale (BEL)
  • Jasper Stuyven - Trek-Segafredo (BEL)
  • Remco Evenepoel - Deceuninck - Quick-Step (BEL)
  • Zdenek Stybar - Deceuninck - Quick-Step (CZE)
  • Yves Lampaert - Deceuninck - Quick-Step (BEL)
  • Wout van Aert - Team Jumbo-Visma (BEL)
  • Mike Teunissen - Team Jumbo-Visma (NED)
  • Alberto Bettiol - EF Education First (ITA)
  • Tim Wellens - Lotto-Soudal (BEL)
  • Thomas De Gendt - Lotto-Soudal (BEL)
  • Michael Matthews - Team Sunweb (AUS)
  • Nicholas Roche - Team Sunweb (IRE)

“It’s rather special, this”, says Remco Evenepoel. “But I’m looking forward to it. I never thought my debut in a monument would be like this, but it’s better than nothing. I did a short test yesterday, and some of the hills are really tough. We haven’t discussed tactics with the team yet. I don’t know how much tactics you can have in a virtual race. You know, these are tough times for everyone. I hope that this way, we can at least bring a bit of fun and hope to people’s homes.”

Someone who has better chances virtually than in a real RVV, is Thomas De Gendt. A few days ago he was kicked off Zwift because the program couldn’t believe his wattages were real. “In terms of effort it’ll look more like a time trial. So I expect that the time trialists will be battling for the win”, dixit Le Crazy. “Virtually there’s a lot less squirming than on the road. Maybe this is my chance to win De Ronde.”

“I’ve been training for a week now”, says Van Aert. “It’s fun to have a goal in these times.”