Cycling's cobbled pilgrimage set for Easter Sunday on SBS VICELAND

The Tour of Flanders sees the cycling world turn its collective eyes towards Belgium for a virtual pilgrimage to the 'hellingen' - the cobbles of the Flanders region - for the 105th edition of the monument. Australian viewers will be able to watch all the racing action on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.

Muur van Geraardsbergen, Kapelmuur, Tour of Flanders

Belgian Jasper Stuyven of Trek-Segafredo pictured in action on the Muur van Geraardsbergen. Source: Getty

SBS will broadcast the men's Tour of Flanders from start to finish with the early stages of the cobbled monument starting from 1755 AEST on SBS On Demand and the TV broadcast on SBS VICELAND joining the SBS VICELAND coverage from 2030. The women's Tour of Flanders race coverage will start at the conclusion of the men's, with an expected start time of 0015 AEST on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.

The men's Tour of Flanders sets off from Antwerp and the riders get their first testing run on the cobbles after 85 kilometres of racing, with still 169 kilometres to go to the finish in Oudenaarde. 

However, the race really begins in earnest after almost 130 kilometres, the approximate halfway point of the 254 kilometre course. Packed together within 29 kilometres of riding, the peloton tackle a tough succession of climbs in the Eikenberg, Holleweg, Wolvenberg, Haaghoek, Leberg, Berendries, and Valkenberg.

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The race is rarely decided at this point, but there have been splits in the field, or riders positioning themselves in breaks that have proved to be crucial as the race has progressed. 



The next big ascent, the Kanarieberg, is isolated from the other climbs, situated on its own with more than 70 kilometres to go as the race sets itself for the finale. That crucial final section comes with 55 kilometres remaining, as the final circuits open with the Oude Kwaremont/Paterberg combo for the first time. The top contenders should be well to the fore by this stage, with the Koppenberg (600 metres at 11.6 per cent), Steenbeekdries (700 metres at 5.3 per cent) and Taaienberg (530 metres at 6.6 per cent) within 10 kilometres.

This was where the selection was made in last year's edition as Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) fought their way clear after the Taaienberg. Moments later, there was the dramatic scenes with Julian Alaphilippe as the French superstar collided with a motorbike and crashed out of contention.



With 30 kilometres left, the riders tackle the Kruisberg (2.5 km at 5 per cent) and continue onto the cobbles of the Mariabossestraat before the Oude Kwaremont makes its third and final appearance for the race. The cobbled climb is long and grinding (2.2 km at 4 per cent), while the Paterberg is the opposite, short and very punchy (360 metres at 12.9 per cent). 

From the top of the Paterberg, it's a flat run into the finish. A combination of strength and team tactics determine things from here, with anything from a solo winner to small bunch sprints deciding the eventual winner.

The women's race starts and finishes in Oudenaarde, with the shorter race length of 158 kilometres meaning that every climb and each attack means that little bit more as riders are fresher and closer to the finish. 

With 105 kilometres left to race the riders will hit the Achterberg, before moving on to a swift succession of action with the Leberg (96 km left), Berendries (92km left) and Tenbosse (84km left) following quickly. 



There could be dangerous moves formed here but recent events have either seen the following two climbs make the initial selection ahead of the finale. The Kanarieberg and Taaienberg double come as a quick, tough double, finishing with 40 kilometres remaining.

The Kruisberg is next up and has been a decisive point in past editions but the real key point is the Oude Kwaremont/Paterberg double which closes out the climbs and leaves the riders with 13 kilometres to race into the flat finish in Oudenaarde.

The Oude Kwaremont was the key moment for the race last year, the spot where Chantal Blaak launched her attack which carried her into the solo lead over a group of five, which she kept all the way to the finish.

SBS will broadcast the men's Tour of Flanders from start to finish with the early stages of the cobbled monument starting from 1755 AEST on SBS On Demand and the TV broadcast on SBS VICELAND joining the SBS VICELAND coverage from 2030. The women's Tour of Flanders race coverage will start at the conclusion of the men's, with an expected start time of 0015 AEST on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.


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4 min read
Published 1 April 2021 at 2:05pm
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS