The race goes on for now and here’s a stage with hillier terrain for a new cast of characters.
The longest stage of the race and the last chance for the sprinters before the mountains appear.
A time trial to shape the overall classification.
Another day, another flat stage exposed to the wind…
A flat route and a possible sprint finish but watch out for the weather as the forecast overnight has changed, suggesting stronger winds and it’s all on terrain so exposed it won’t take much to split the bunch again… if the stage goes ahead as last night the French government moved the threshold for permissible events from 5,000 down to 1,000 people.
A series of loops in the countryside including a narrow cobbled climb, the opening stage is more than a dash to the finish line for a bunch sprint.
Where to begin? Just outside Paris but with the spread of the coronavirus, one question is whether the race will reach Nice next weekend is as valid as who will win.
The sporting aspect is interesting with a revised startsheet, fewer of the large teams to control the race and the weather forecast says it’ll be windy for the opening stages.
Nicolas Portal, the easygoing hardworker who was behind the wheel of the team car for all of Chris Froome’s grand tour wins died aged 40 at home in Andorra.
It was a good openingsweekend. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was a lively race with a satisfying finish. We saw a big breakaway with 100km to go, then the winning move of seven riders form with over 70km to go and then this was whittled down on the Kapelmuur and Bosberg to a trio. Jasper Stuyven and Yves Lampaert cracked Søren Kragh Andersen on the run to the finish before Stuyven took an important win. He’s had a lot of pressure on his shoulders since turning pro, more when Fabian Cancellara retired. But among the spring classics there’s been only Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne to show for it so far on his palmarès. The Omloop isn’t everything but it puts him in a decent position now.
Feverish? Hot under the collar? Aching arms and legs? Hopefully it’s just because you’ve completed a recon ride over the cobbles and are all set for the openingsweekend. The spring classics start this weekend with the Omloop this Saturday, a tour of Flanders.