The Ronde Van Vlaanderen or Tour of Flanders happened Sunday, it’s perhaps the biggest one day race of the year, internationally it may not rival the popularity of Paris Roubaix, but the Flandrians love their racing and it looks like everyone in the country is on the streets watching. I watched the race this morning, the entire 180KM that was shown on Eurosport. I think it was 3 hours, yeah I got up extra early to watch this.
The racing was great, though the conditions weren’t epic like the Belgium racing has been lately, there was little wind and clear skies, but the huge miles and cobbled climbs kept the racers on their toes.
Excitement was added to this years race in the form of crashes, specifically crashes with cars. I’ve always been surprised that more riders aren’t hit, I’ve only seen it one other time a few years ago in the Tour when Johnny Hoogerland was knocked into a barb wire fence by a passing car. This year the same thing, minus the fence, happened to Jesse Sargent, ending his race with a broken collarbone. The culprit, a Shimano Neutral Service car that was trying to pass the breakaway for some reason.
A little later Shimano struck again, this time the neutral service car ran into the back of an FDJ team car knocking it forward into Sébastien Chavanel ending his race, but fortunately causing no serious injury.
I’ll abstain from giving a play by play of the finish, as much more qualified writers have done. I’ll just say that perhaps Sky should rethink putting the whole team on the front of a 264KM monument, they looked pretty tired near the end.