Tour of Flanders  Live coverage

 cyclingnews.com  10/18/2020 12:00:02   Daniel Ostanek

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We have continuing live coverage of the Women's Tour of Flanders and stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia, too.

Van der Poel:

"I have no words for this. I am speechless. I wasn't sure  normally I always feel [who won], but I was so broken in the sprint. All of the sudden the measure was there and I had to jump. I looked at Wout's wheel, but neither of us knew. I always believed in it.

"I was looking behind me at Wout, not at the chasers. I knew that the later the sprint was started, the more it became to my advantage. The fact that Wout started late was a sign that he too was tired to death. I caught him perfectly, but he came halfway next to me.

"Then the acidification came to my ears. Suddenly it was there. I feared I was too late with my jump. I didn't dare to cheer. They told me twice that I had won, but I asked for confirmation ten times. This makes up for so much. The number 51 [like father Adrie] will be something special."

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM OCTOBER 18 Podium Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Team Jumbo Visma Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix Alexander Kristoff of Norway and UAE Team Emirates Celebration Mask Covid safety measures Hostess Miss during the 104th Tour of Flanders 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen Men Elite a 2433km race from Antwerpen to Oudenaarde RVV20 FlandersClassic on October 18 2020 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

A customary handshake between Van der Poel and Van Aert and Kristoff. No snubbing here. The Dutchman collects his trophy and the trio duly spray the Lidl champagne.

A snippet of what Van der Poel had to say after the finish:

"Normally I always see [who won]. But I was so broken. I looked past the line at Wout, but neither of us knew it. I knew I had to do the sprint of my life to beat Wout. I did it."

Now for the podium ceremony...

Here's the finish, with Van der Poel just edging it at the line.

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM OCTOBER 18 Sprint Arrival Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Team Jumbo Visma during the 104th Tour of Flanders 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen Men Elite a 2433km race from Antwerpen to Oudenaarde RVV20 FlandersClassic on October 18 2020 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Van der Poel follows in the wheeltracks of his father Adrie, who won this race back in 1986.

Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) took third place ahead of Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie) and Yves Lampaert (Elegant-QuickStep).

They couldn't be separated until the last metres. What a duel.

This is how close it was...

(Image credit: Eurosport)

Van Aert draws alongside Van der Poel but it's the Dutchman who takes it!

Mathieu van der Poel has won the Tour of Flanders!

They launch with around 150 metres to go! Van Aert can't get past!

250m to go

No sprint yet. Van der Poel still on the front!

Van Aert is forcing Van der Poel to lead it out.

500m to go

He's still on the front. Still looking back.

1km to go

Final kilometre! Van der Poel is on the front and looking around.

The gap is down to 40 seconds but the leaders are safe, barring disaster.

2km to go

Still no movement. There are attacks behind, though. Naesen is involved.

This is it. The big finale. Which of these two long-time rivals across road and cyclo-cross will win the 2020 Tour of Flanders?

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM OCTOBER 18 Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Team Jumbo Visma Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix during the 104th Tour of Flanders 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen Men Elite a 2433km race from Antwerpen to Oudenaarde RVV20 FlandersClassic on October 18 2020 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

4km to go

The tension is building but the gap and situation remains the same.

5km to go

50 seconds back to the chasers, who are certainly battling for third.

There has been no further news on Alaphilippe's condition yet, by the way.

6km to go

No change in situation right now. The two are still taking their turns, still co-operating. The rain is still falling.

That said, it's been a hard day out and who knows how the racing has effected their legs.

8km to go

If they go to the line together I would bet on Van Aert to prevail here. The gap is hovering around the minute mark.

How it started --- How it's now pic.twitter.com/Cd3snEl2u9October 18, 2020

10km to go

The rain is falling again lightly. The gap drops under a minute as Naesen is caught.

Now we wait. Neither man will go on the attack this far out, but will they try a move at all? Or will they rely on their strong sprints?

Naesen still chases, 1:10 back. Vanmarcke leads the rest of the chasers.

13km to go

Van der Poel leads the pair over the top of the climb. All on the finish and the flat run-in to Oudenaarde, then.

They're equal to one another so far.

This crucial cobbled climb is 360 metres long at 12.9 per cent with a maximum gradient of 20.3 per cent.

They hit Paterberg! Van der Poel leads the way.

Van der Poel tightens his shoes. Van Aert leads the way for now.

Just the Paterberg remains now. Van Aert vs Van der Poel for the win at the Tour of Flanders.

16km to go

He has little chance of bridging a 1:15 gap on his own, though.

Naesen has attacked the chase group on Oude Kwaremont.

No moves from either of the duo up front on Oude Kwaremont. Van Aert takes to the front as they hit the false flat over the top.

Their advantage is only going up now. The chase group hardly looked like they were flying along.

Van der Poel is on the front as they hit the cobbles.

19km to go

The two leaders hit Oude Kwaremont for the final time now. 1:15 to the chasers.

Our two leaders. After all the polemica of Gent-Wevelgem, they're forced to work together here to stave off the chasers and contest the victory.

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM OCTOBER 18 Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Team Jumbo Visma Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix Breakaway Cobblestones during the 104th Tour of Flanders 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen Men Elite a 2433km race from Antwerpen to Oudenaarde RVV20 FlandersClassic on October 18 2020 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

6km to go until Oude Kwaremont. Paterberg follows, and then it's the run to the finish...

Julian Alaphilippe crashes out of Tour of Flanders

World champion's injuries unconfirmed

24km to go

Van der Poel and Van Aert are 1:05 up now.

The chase group: Alberto Bettiol, Sep Vanmarcke, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, John Degenkolb, Oliver Naesen, Jasper Stuyven, Valentin Madouas, Dylan Teuns, Dylan van Baarle, Tiesj Benoot, Alexander Kristoff, Dimitri Claeys, Arjen Livyns, Xavier Meurisse, Andrea Pasqualon, Anthony Turgis.

They're 55 seconds down.

A look at what was the lead group... Now the 'Van' duo are 40 seconds up on the chase.

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM OCTOBER 18 Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep World Champion Jersey Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Team Jumbo Visma Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix Breakaway during the 104th Tour of Flanders 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen Men Elite a 2433km race from Antwerpen to Oudenaarde RVV20 FlandersClassic on October 18 2020 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Meanwhile, 35 seconds between Van Aert-Van der Poel and the chasers.

Jesus... Alaphilippe's race is done #RVV20 #RVVmen pic.twitter.com/JDJgWclSCiOctober 18, 2020

The moto was going slow at the side of the road, Van der Poel jinked around it but it looked like Alaphilippe was unsighted and had nowhere to go.

It looks certain to be race over for Alaphilippe.

He's in a lot of pain and isn't getting up.

He hit a moto at the side of the roadfrom behind...

Alaphilippe crashes!

36km to go

10km to go until the next difficulty  Kruisberg/Hotond. The chase group have been reabsorbed, but the Alaphilippe-Van der Poel-Van Aert group is still out front.

Four men are chasing the lead trio  Bettiol, Sénéchal, Asgreen and Valentin Madouas.

Naesen is in the next (larger) group on the road with Vanmarcke and several others.

Van der Poel almost loses it after taking a corner no-handed as he took a bottle from a soigneur.

Naesen leads the chase behind. The gap looks to be maybe 10 seconds.

Van Aert is coming across, too. The three big favourites off the front as they hit the cobbled climb of the Taaienberg (530 metres at 6.6 per cent, max 15 per cent).

Alaphilippe and Van der Poel are away!

Alaphilippe imponeert op de Koppenberg, andere favorieten moeten achtervolgen #RVV20 pic.twitter.com/uDqStnQ8oIOctober 18, 2020

Alaphilippe pushes on once again on the cobbled descent as Van der Poel chases. 

Valgren, Kwiatkowski, Mezgec, Pedersen are still chasing on.

40km to go

Around 20 riders in the front group now, as the CCC directors lament that "the race is finished" for them.

More riders are chasing on now. The groups are all merging here.

They hit the cobbled section of Marieborrestraat, which leads to Steenbeekdries.

43km to go

Van Aert, Van der Poel, Naesen, Van Baarle are in that group, who make it across.

Alaphilippe has joined a Total Direct Energie rider Anthony Turgis ahead of an elite chase group.

The world champion is really going for it here.

Alaphilippe makes a move! Naesen, Van der Poel behind him.

45km to go

Romain Bardet leads the race as the riders hit the Koppenberg, as expected... 

Van Baarle and Bardet continue to push on. 

A look at that brief move.

Daar is de wereldkampioen! Devenyns, Alaphilippe en Van Baarle rijden even voorop #RVV20 pic.twitter.com/CZUkLxyJebOctober 18, 2020

Romain Bardet (!), Oliver Naesen and John Degenkolb jump across to the move. The peloton catches up, though.

Koppenberg is coming up.

The peloton has fallen apart here. 

Van Baarle, Devenyns and Alaphilippe jump off the front as a group of riders try to get back to the main group.

50km to go

The break is caught with 50km to go. Some big names  Van der Poel, Naesen, Van Aert move to the front.

Alaphilippe lost traction a little riding the gutter on the steep section. He's OK though.

The break hang on over the top, though. They're just 10 seconds up. No big moves in the peloton.

52km to go

Ineos are up front on the Paterberg, just behind the break now.

Just a couple of kilometres to the Paterberg now. We'll see more riders tailed off the rear up there.

No big moves on Oude Kwaremont there. It's still early. The break is now just 25 seconds up the road now, though.

57km to go

Vanmarcke is back in the peloton as just a minute up the road, Peyskens crashes out of the break face-first.

Oude Kwaremont is coming up.

He's chasing on with Taco van der Hoorn. 9km to go until Oude Kwaremont, a bit of a lull in the race with no climbs or cobbles here.

A crash in the peloton takes out EF's Sep Vanmarcke and Stefan Bissegger and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept's Jens Debusschere. It was a couple of unrelated touchse of wheels in the peloton.

Vanmarcke gets a new bike after the crash damaged his gearing.

65km to go

A couple of groups make it across to them, but so does the peloton. All together and 1:45 up to the break.

Kwiatkowski and Štybar catch Walscheid after clipping off the front.

Leonardo Basso (Ineos Grenadiers) and Zdenek Štybar (Elegant-QuickStep) lead the peloton up Kanarieberg.

Štybar pushes on over the top. Walscheid is still off the front, too.

72km to go

The break hit Kanarieberg, which is 1km long at 7.7 per cent.

Wheel change for Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe). Hofstetter looks annoyed as he waits for his team car, pacing around and kicking the air.

The German has around 15-20 seconds on the peloton.

Dilier and Hugo Hofstetter (ISN) are involved in a small crash but they both look OK.

Another NTT attacker  it's Max Walscheid.

The riders will pass through the final feed zone of the race soon. They're 6km from Kanarieberg, too.

77km to go

Florian Sénéchal (Elegant-QuickStep) brings back the small move off the front. 2:50 to the break.

Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) overruns a corners and hits the ground before slowly getting rolling again.

A third (?) bike change for Nils Politt. He's having a tough day.

81km to go

3:20 to the break now as the peloton crests Valkenburg.

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (NTT Pro Cycling) is one of the men trying to make it away.

The break start the Valkenburg climb as a few more riders jump from the peloton.

The climb is 540 metres long at 8.1 per cent.

A small group tries to make it away from the peloton. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale) were in there. The pace is staying high.

A look at the peloton.

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM OCTOBER 18 Alberto Dainese of Italy and Team Sunweb Fred Wright of The United Kingdom and Team Bahrain Mclaren Juan Diego Alba Bolivar of Colombia and Movistar Team Peloton Cobblestones Landscape during the 104th Tour of Flanders 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen Men Elite a 2433km race from Antwerpen to Oudenaarde RVV20 FlandersClassic on October 18 2020 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

86km to go

The peloton is lined out, still under a high pace. The gap is down to 4:30 now.

Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) and Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) drop out the rear of the peloton as De Bondt makes his way back.

Trek-Segafredo are back on the front on the approach to Berendries, another climb in quick succession.

The peloton ride Haaghoek and Boasson Hagen is caught. Up front, the break reach the Leberg climb.

Elegant-QuickStep take to the front of the peloton now. Boasson Hagen is only a few seconds up the road. The riders have passed through the rain shower.

5:45 for the break now. The peloton has cut a minute off the lead after that upping of pace.

96km to go

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) push on as the break reach the cobbled section of Haaghoek.

The peloton is strung out as Lampaert pushes the pace up front on Holleweg.

Now the peloton take on Wolvenberg, led by Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie) and Yves Lampaert (Elegant-QuickStep).

100km to go

Six minutes from break to EBH, who lies 50 seconds up on the peloton.

The break passes the Holleweg section of cobbles and it looks like the rain has started to fall.

Owain Doull (Ineos Grenadiers) leads the peloton up Eikenberg.

The barriers came back up pretty quickly and the peloton got through without much delay. Meanwhile, the break start Wolvenberg (645 metres at 7.9 per cent).

The peloton have been forced to stop at a level crossing as a train passes through. The break and Boasson Hagen are already through  some free time for the Norwegian.

tour flanders eurosport train

(Image credit: Eurosport)

The break reach the top of Eikenberg having ridden up the tarmac strip on the side of the road.

108km to go

Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT Pro Cycling) puts in an attack on the approach to the fourth climb of the day, Eikenberg.

Van Aert chases back on as part of a small group. Wellens is still coming back.

Ah, it was actually two separate incidents. Van Aert was trying to move up the peloton and was forced to slow, catching a wheel and slowly falling down the verge. Further back, the other men were involved in a different crash across the road.

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Maurits Lammertink (Circus-Wanty Gobert), Amund Jansen (Jumbo-Visma) plus a rider apiece from Bahrain McLaren and Movistar were also involved.

114km to go

Another crash in the peloton and this time Wout van Aert is involved. He fell down a grass bank at the side of the road but is back off again.

We're past the halfway point of the race now. 7:10 between break and peloton.

123km to go

A hold-up on the lower slopes of the climb after a small crash in the middle of the group. Trek-Segafredo continue to lead up front.

Van Hoecke leads the break all the way up and over the top. The peloton are about to start Oude Kwaremont.

126km to go

The break hits the climb. It's partially cobbled, 2.2km long at an average of six per cent and maximum of 11.

Team Sunweb have massed on the front of the peloton now as they approach Oude Kwaremont. Tiesj Benoot and Søren Kragh Andersen are their leaders.

Trek-Segafredo, Elegant-QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma are also up there.

Yet another puncture. This time it's Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale).

The riders are approaching the Oude Kwaremont, which comes at 123km to go. It's almost the halfway point of De Ronde.

133km to go

Mühlberger back in the break having taken a team-issue S-Works Tarmac SL7.

Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-Scott) stops for a wheel change after a puncture.

Mühlberger is on a Shimano neutral service bike at the moment, a rare sight. He's looking around, presumably for his team car to get a replacement.

Meanwhile, Chris Lawless (Ineos), Juan Diego Alba (Movistar) and Hugo Hofstetter (Israel Start-Up Nation) have all been forced to stop and get wheel/bike changes due to punctures.

Mühlberger's crash...

pic.twitter.com/EMytklzPdeOctober 18, 2020

142km to go

Mühlberger makes it back to his breakmates on the Holleweg cobbled section soon after the climb.

It's the first climb of the day for the break now, the Katteberg east of Oudenaarde. It's 500 metres long at an average of seven per cent.

A crash in the break! Mühlberger tries to throw a musette to the side of the road but gets it caught on his handlebars and hits the ground. He's back up and running now.

160km to go

The break reaches the first cobbled section of the day, Lippenhovestraat, a 1.3km long section. The peloton will come through in eight minutes.

Alaphilippe: I'm not a real Flandrien but I've got my heart set on Tour of Flanders

Frenchman warms to favourite status ahead of debut at the Ronde

De Brabantse Pijl 2020 La Fleche Brabanconne 60th Edition Leuven Overijse 197km 07102020 Mathieu Van Der Poel NED Alpecin Fenix Julian Alaphilippe FRA Deceuninck Quick Step photo Nico VereeckenPNBettiniPhoto2020

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

174km to go

Florian Vermeeersch (Lotto Soudal) crashes on a corner and the Astana car stops to help him. He's back up and running now, though.

Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation) stops at the side of the road to kiss his wife and say hello to his kids before getting going again.

Vermote is caught by the peloton, which is 7:10 down.

Mark Cavendish (Bahrain McLaren):

"I'm very glad to be here in Antwerp. I love to race in Belgium. It's my third Ronde. I was in the breakaway the previous two races because the team wanted to race aggressive. That will not be the case again today. We have a different race plan."

Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale):

"I'm no longer hindered by my crash. We did the recon with Romain. He'll find his way. 

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale): 

"I'm super happy to be here. I'm here with all the flahutes, the classics specialists. This is a race you have to fo at least once in your career. Oli is our man."

186km to go

Vermote is giving up the chase. He has dropped to five minutes behind the break now and will soon be back in the peloton.

Sep Vanmarcke (EF Pro Cycling) at the start:

"We had to wait for a long time to race the Flemish classics. It was fun to finally be able to race full-out. I love this race."

Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling): 

"I'm super happy to finally be back here. It will be super difficult to win again but it is our goal. I'm not the favourite today. There's a few who are stronger. I hope an outsider wins again. I'm not naming anybody."

192km to go

Six minutes is the gap now, while Vermote is two minutes down on the break.

It was a hard start to the @RondeVlaanderen before a break finally formed. Here were @JumboVismaRoad rider @WoutvanAert's first 20km Avg speed: 49.5km/hMax speed: 62.3km/hAvg power: 280wMax power: 950wRed Zone: 9%Follow live data in our Race Centre =G_____<�<� href="https://twitter.com/VelonCC/status/1317751731866959872">October 18, 2020

And his long-time cyclo-cross and road rival Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)...

"Gent-Wevelgem was the best example that there's other riders ready to win as well. Despite the absence of Mike Teunissen we still have a strong team. Apart from Mathieu van der Poel I'm expecting a lot from Julian Alaphilippe, Alberto Bettiol, Stefan Küng and Mads Pedersen."

Some quotes from the start coming up now. First up, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)...

"There's a long prelude before the exciting part. I hope to have a wide-open race but I expect a strong breakaway group to be up the road. I will not be in there. I don't think they'll allow me. 

"I took it easy this week. I'm hoping for super compensation."

Taco van der Hoorn (Jumbo-Visma) leads the peloton ahead of Trek-Segafredo. Five minutes to the break now, as Kasper Asgreen (Elegant-QuickStep) drops back to the team car to put on a second over-jersey.

Trek-Segafredo and Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise lead the peloton as the gap goes out to 3:40.

210km to go

Vermote hasn't yet made it across the gap. He's around 45 seconds back.

All calm at the front of the peloton as the riders take a drink and some food, letting the break ride away.

214km to go

1:15 for the break now. This is the move of the day as the peloton sits up to let it go.

Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Samuele Battistella (NTT Pro Cycling), Danny van Poppel (Circus-Wanty Gobert), Gijs Van Hoecke (CCC Team), Dimitri Peyskens (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), Fabio Van Den Bossche (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) are in the move, 25 seconds up on the peloton as Julien Vermote (Cofidis) chases.

Six men up front now with a small gap. Elegant-QuickStep (yes, they've temporarily changed their name for the race) try to block the front of the peloton as team leader Julian Alaphilippe sorts a mechanical behind.

UAE Team Emirates director Allan Peiper just took an unexpected phone call in the team car. "Look mate I'm just in the Ronde van Vlaanderen in the car. Call tomorrow sometime," he says.

A small group of five up front now, with a few couples of riders chasing across the gap.

223km to go

The peloton heads through Saint-Niklaas, lined out largely in single file after passing through some sharp turns and narrowing roads.

...and that group is brought back. Circus-Wanty Gobert leads the counter-attacking.

A group of nine has a small gap but Israel Start-Up Nation have a man on the front of the peloton trying to bring it back.

229km to go

B&B Hotels-Vital Concept, Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, NTT Pro Cycling are among those making moves. Still no breakaway  it's a tough battle to make it.

We have stories from Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, two of the main favourites today, and two men who came to verbal blows after a heated Gent-Wevelgem finale. Check out what they had to say in the lead-up to Flanders below.

Van der Poel: If Van Aert is strongest at Tour of Flanders, he'll be a great winner

Van Aert: Alaphilippe and Van der Poel biggest challengers for Tour of Flanders

Dutch Mathieu van der Poel of AlpecinFenix German John Degenkolb of Lotto Soudal and Belgian Wout Van Aert of Team JumboVisma pictured during the GentWevelgem In Flanders Fields one day cycling race 2325 km Sunday 11 October 2020 in Wevelgem BELGA PHOTO POOL NICO VEREECKEN Photo by POOL NICO VEREECKENBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

Van der Poel (left) and Van Aert (right) at Gent-Wevelgem (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The peloton is strung out here with the pace high at the front.

236km to go

Attacks are still going, with Mitchelton-Scott, Cofidis, AG2R La Mondiale all active.

We'll have some quotes from the start once things calm down a little at the front of the race.

Astana and Circus-Wanty Gobert are among those trying to make day's break here.

There were no fans at the start, reports our man on the ground, Brecht Decaluwé. Hopefully fans stay away from the rest of the race to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Race organisers Flanders Classics didn't publish the route ahead of the time in order to help with this.

243km to go

The official start is taken and attacks fly from the off at this shortened Tour of Flanders.

Defending champion Alberto Bettiol leads EF Pro Cycling. World champion Julian Alaphilippe leads Elegant-QuickStep and has super-strong backup in Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert and Zdenek Štybar.

Oliver Naesen heads up AG2R La Mondiale while the big rivals Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) are among the top favourites.

Matteo Trentin leads CCC Team as former world champion Mads Pedersen leads Trek-Segafredo, John Degenkolb leads Lotto Soudal and Michał Kwiatkowski and Dylan van Baarle lead Ineos Grenadiers.

Tiesj Benoot and Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain McLaren), Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie) are among the other major names to start.

There are a few big names missing  Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) miss out with injury, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is at the Giro d'Italia and mooted debutant Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) ended his season early  but the start list is still packed.

Off they go!

"Heeren vertrekt!" pic.twitter.com/g7uWBqL7J2October 18, 2020

First cobbles complete and were ready to rock =J #RVV20 pic.twitter.com/IlpNQ6rbNCOctober 18, 2020

It's a grim and dull day in Antwerp as the riders start the neutralised zone. The riders are all wrapped up in their warmers and over-jerseys.

Relaxed and ready for De Ronde =#LoveMyQuickStepPhoto: Sigfrid Eggers pic.twitter.com/X8nZYA7tZlOctober 17, 2020

Riders are currently signing in in Antwerp ahead of the race start which comes in a matter of minutes.

It's finally here! Good morning from Antwerp >) #RVV20 pic.twitter.com/itkLFCEajaOctober 18, 2020

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2020 Tour of Flanders, a bit later than usual this year...

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