If it’s spring in Belgium, then you’re in the middle of the “Cobbled Classics” season in pro cycling and this week has the fifth and sixth World Tour races on the cobbled circuit:
● 02 March: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ~ Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
● 27 March: Drie Daagse de Panne ~ Dylan Groenewegen (NED)
● 29 March: E3 Binckbank Classic ~ Zdensk Stybar (CZE)
● 31 March: Gent-Wevelgem ~ Alexander Kristoff (NOR)
● 03 April: Dwars door Vlaanderen
● 07 April: Ronde van Vlaanderen
● 14 April: Paris-Roubaix
The 74th Dwar doors Vlaanderen runs from Roeselare to Waregem on a 179 km course that is fairly flat for the first 75 km, then has 10 rises that reach as high as 165 m on the Hotond at 138 km mark. The final 12 km is almost all downhill.
The field has another all-star cast, including three prior winners:
● Yves Lampaert (BEL) ~ 2017 and 2018 champion
● Niki Terpstra (NED) ~ 2012 and 2014 champion
● Jens Debusschere (GER) ~ 2016 champion
● Mike Teunissen (NED) ~ Second in 2018
● Edward Theuns (BEL) ~ Third in 2016
● Philippe Gilbert (BEL) ~ Second in 2017
● Dylan van Baarle (NED) ~ Third in 2015
● Bryan Coquard (FRA) ~ Second in 2016
● Koen de Kort (NED) ~ Third in 2012
There are plenty of other contenders, including Alejandro Valverde (ESP: second in the UAE Tour this season), Oliver Naesen (BEL: third at Gent-Wevelgem), Matej Mohoric (SLO: fifth at Milan-Sanremo), Alexander Kristoff (NOR), the winner at Gent-Wevelgem, Fernando Gaviria (COL: second at Drie Daagse de Panne) and several more.
Look for results here.