With the Nieuwsblad Flandrien 2020 this time it is like with Milan-Sanremo, or the Tour of Flanders: here too Wout van Aert is clearly the top favorite. Tonight we will know whether the winner of the Trophy for Sports Merit 2020 can also take home a second Flandrien artwork. Or have the nine works of Evenepoel inspired the professional peloton to such an extent that they put him above Van Aert? We are curious. Follow it LIVE tonight at 8.30 pm on sportwereld.be!
As a reminder: last year the election of the Flandrien was a millimeter sprint. Won by the man with the fastest legs: Wout van Aert. Before neo-pro Remco Evenepoel, who could live with being beaten by one point. This time you had to be from a good family again to get nominated by the professional jury, because nine compatriots took care of sixteen victories in the WorldTour. You had to be able to present more than one stunner to be among the five nominees.
And yet two stand out. With all due respect to Yves Lampaert, Jasper Philipsen and Tim Wellens, but what those two shook off their legs in a super short and clenched corona season was punishment, better, punitive. We will never know exactly what the year of Evenepoel would have turned out without that abrupt end in a Lombard ravine, but in the meantime he has collected nine victories. Van Aert finished a phenomenal 2020 with six cars, including five WorldTour victories. And did silver at the World Championship time trial and the road on top. Whoever it becomes, the eighteenth Flandrien in history will therefore be a grand cru.
D’hoore vs. Kopecky
Among the women, a conflict also announces itself: Jolien D’hoore versus Lotte Kopecky, the two who will have to make the weather together in the Olympic team race in Tokyo next year. Three-time Flandrienne D’hoore has won a victory in Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, while Kopecky has a double Belgian title (road and time trial) and a stage in the Giro Rosa. With national cyclocross champion Sanne Cant, promise champion Shari Bossuyt and ex-national champion Jesse Vandenbulcke, we see that the specific weight of our women’s cycling is getting better and better.
Because Covid-19 caused the cancellation of almost all top matches in the youth (including the World Cup), no Young Flandrien will be awarded this year. Too bad, but it is no different. Let us hope that next year we can hold another Gala of the Flandrien, with all the trimmings. In this separate year, we limit ourselves to a corona-proof online broadcast, presented by Karl Vannieuwkerke.
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