The Flanders 2021 World Championships are well underway and we’ve already been treated to some exciting action.
From the elite time trials to the junior events, the World Championships in Belgium is a celebration of all things cycling.
Racing got underway on Sunday (September 19) with the elite men’s time trial, won by Filippo Ganna of Italy.
That event was followed by the under-23 TT and the elite women’s TT on Monday, with Denmark taking gold in the U23 thanks to Johan Price-Pejtersen, while Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands claimed her second rainbow jersey in the women’s race.
On Tuesday we saw the junior women and junior men compete for the coveted title of world champion.
This year’s event also marks the return of the relatively new discipline, the mixed relay team time trial, where teams of three men and three women from the same nation race against the clock.
Once the time trials are done, we then turn out focus to the road races later in the week, with the men’s junior and U23 races both on Friday (September 24).
The junior women and the elite women will then compete on Saturday, followed by the elite men’s race on Sunday, the final day of competition.
Here are the routes for all of the events in this year’s race:
UCI World Road Championships Flanders 2021 - Routes
Men's elite road race
The men's elite road race starts in the city of Antwert with 268.3km on the menu with a finish in the town of Leuven after taking on 42 climbs along the way.
In comparison to last year's championships, the climbs are tiny but with the race expected to be ridden hard, riders will likely be all over the road by the end and is the weather is anything like it was in Yorkshire back in the 2019 Worlds, it will be very selective.
Women's elite road race
The women's elite road race, while being far shorter than the men's race, is expected to create just as much drama as the short route lend themselves to very explosive races from start to finish. This should be no different.
Men and women's elite individual time trial
The elite men face a slightly longer route to the elite women with the men taking on a 43.3km route from Knokke-Heist to Bruges on a largely pan-flat course that should suit the power time trialists.
The elite women take on a very similar looking route but over 30.3km. It does still suit a power rider unlike the last edition which favoured a rider who could take on the climbs as well.
Men's U23, men's junior and women's junior road race routes
The men's U23 road race looks largely similar to the women's elite road race but is, in fact, three kilometres longer than that race with is sitting at 160.9km with 20 climbs on the route it goes over the same laps as the women's elite race.
In the men's junior road race the riders will take on a challenging 121.4km over eight laps of the finishing circuit in Leuven. Taking on 31 official climbs as well as the rise to the finish on the Geldenaaksevest adding another eight.
With the women not getting an U23 race, the junior road race is the main stage for the fresh up-and-coming talent of the sport.
The route races entirely on the Leuven circuit, much like the men's junior race, but it is over five laps making a 75km route with 25 climbs including the rises to the finish.
Men's U23, men's junior and women's junior time trial routes
The men's U23 time trial route is exactly the same as the women's elite race with the start in Knokke-Heist and finishing in Bruges after 30.3km.
The men's junior time trial route takes on 22.3km between Knokke-Heist and Bruges missing out a couple of the short ascents the other routes face.
Taking a very different route between Knokke-Heist and Bruges, the junior women face a short yet sharp kick right at the start of the race before a completely flat ride all the way to the line.
Team time trial mixed relay
The second edition of the mixed relay comes two years after the first that took place in Harrogate in 2019.
The race sees the men ride a 22.5km route from Knokke-Heist to Bruges where the women will start their ride of 22km before coming back to finish in the famous city making a route of 44.5km.
The two times are put together and the fastest joint time wins.
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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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