Four UCI ProTeams received wildcard invitations to participate in the 105th edition of the second Monument of the season, including two Belgian teams, Bingoal Casino-Wallonie Bruxelles and Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, and two French squads, B&B Hotels p/b KTM and Total Direct Energie.
Coming to the start line in Oudenaarde for the 18th edition of the Women’s Tour of Flanders will be nine WorldTeams and 15 Continental teams, led by Team SD Worx, which should field defending champion Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and 2018 winner and world champion Anna van der Breggen.
Joining the other eight WorldTeams are five Belgian teams: Lotto Soudal Ladies, Ciclismo Mundial, Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team, Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team and Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire Cycling Team. On the Jumbo-Visma Women’s team will be 2013 Flanders champion Marianne Vos.
The field will be rounded out by Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team, Valcar Travel & Service, Parkhotel Valkenburg, A.R. Monex Women’s Pro Cycling Team, Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur, Massi Tactic Women Team, Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank, Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano and Hitec Products.
In the last year’s 135km edition, Boels Dolmans went 1-2 on the podium, as Van den Broek-Blaak went solo for the title on the Oude Kwaremont and Amy Pieters sprinted to second from the chasing group.
The 2020 men’s contest was full of mayhem, from being moved to October as the final cobbled Classic of the coronavirus pandemic-altered season to world champion Julian Alaphilippe’s (Deceuninck-QuickStep) crash with a race motorbike that resulted in a double-fractured right hand and took him out of a three-rider showdown for the title. The ensuing head-to-head battle between Van der Poel and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) gave the Dutchman the top prize.
Last week, organisers stated that spectators would not be permitted to gather along the sides of the roads for any of its five events: Gent-Wevelgem (March 28), Dwars door Vlaanderen (March 31), Tour of Flanders (April 4), Scheldeprijs (April 7) and Brabantse Pijl (April 14) – due to the ongoing pandemic. The start and finish areas, and cobbled sections, will also be closed off from public access.