By Tim Bonville-Ginn published
Spectators have to stay at home to watch the much loved cobbled Classics of Flanders, including the Tour of Flanders, as uncertainty continues with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Autumn saw the remaining Classics in Belgium raced with no fans officially allowed on the course, with most members of the public respecting those choices to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But even with the talk of multiple vaccines coming into use the organiser of many prestigious races, Flanders Classics, has taken the decision early to have no fans at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Ghent-Wevelgem, Dwars Door Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs and Brabantse Pijl, as well as Belgian Monument the Tour of Flanders.
CEO of Flanders Classics, Tomas van den Spiegel said in an interview with DeMorgen: "This is how we will work throughout the classic spring.
"Of course I would rather see Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) drive up the Oude Kwaremont side by side through a sea of people,
"Unfortunately that will not be the case in 2021 either."
The races that did take place in 2020 did not disappoint with some amazing performances by multiple riders including new world champion, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) coming out as a top Cobbled Classics contender with a win at Brabantse Pijl before crashing out of the Tour of Flanders.
We also got the much anticipated battle between Van der Poel and Van Aert in De Ronde along with many other epic rides, showing that the races can take place without fans.
With the hope of multiple coronavirus vaccines on the horizon , Van den Spiegel has still maintained that he does not want to move the races in the calendar again saying it would create uncertainty.
Several safety measures were taken and the plan is that they will be again, Van den Spiegel continued: "It has turned out that cycling races can take place without an audience.
"It never occurred to us not to organise the Omloop, Gent-Wevelgem or the Ronde. Not really. We can do this one more time, then it really isn't possible anymore."
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is the first Classic scheduled for 2021, due to be raced on February 27.
Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!
I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.
It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.
After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.
When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.
My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.
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