De Ronde van Vlaanderen is the 'Real' World championships, if you are a Flemish bike fan. The Tour of Flanders will be more of a slow fuse, but when the peloton hits those cobbled climbs round Oudenaarde... Watch for the fireworks! Ed Hood looks at the history, course and who's hot for Sunday.
A crazy day on the home roads of Marco Pantani, saw many riders suffer from the cold and wet conditions that split the race to pieces. The stage victory went to Jhonatan Narváez ahead of an unlucky Mark Padun. The pink jersey of João Almeida was safe after strong work from the Deceuninck - Quick-Step team.
A real sprinter's day and it was the top sprinter of the season, Arnaud Démare who showed his top form... By a bike length. All the talk before the stage was 'how to beat the Frenchman?' None of the plans worked and the French champion took his fourth stage win. João Almeida holds the pink jersey for another day.
Peter Sagan had to wait fifteen months for a win, but the Slovakian won an impressive stage 10. Sagan was part of an early break, rode away from his last escape companion in the finalé and managed to stay out of the grasp of the group of GC men. Brandon McNulty was second and the pink jersey of João Almeida was third.
Nine stages down and twelve more to come and another rest day, but the first week has fed our Covid-19 need for bike racing. Ed Hood has been tied to the TV in 'Sunny Scotland' watching the 2020 Italian Grand Tour unfold. Here are his thoughts as the peloton enjoys the first rest day.
Ruben Guerreiro out-sprinted his escape partner, Jonathan Castroviejo at the end of a tough stage 9. The stage could have been a GC battle, but the 'Break of the Day' went all the way for a Portuguese win. Another man from Portugal, João Almeida held the overall lead going into the first Giro rest day.
Ex-World champion, Mads Pedersen out-sprinted an elite group at the end of Gent-Wevelgem. Top favourites, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, were watching each other and missed the final move. Action packed Flemish racing at its best.
Alex Dowsett, took the Israel Start-Up Nation's first Grand Tour stage win in Vieste. Dowsett was a part of the 'Break of the Day' in-front of a peloton that had decided on a day off. The British time trial specialist attacked on the finish circuit from the group of six and solo'd to the line. João Almeida had an easy ride to hold the overall lead.
After a windy day of echelons and crashes, it was the French national champion, Arnaud Démare who won the bunch gallop into Brindisi and he made it look easy again. Peter Sagan took yet another second place with Michael Matthews in third. The pink jersey stayed with João Almeida.