Dwars door Vlaanderen

What a corking name. Quintessentially Flemish. Just try saying it out loud a few times. The only other word that springs to mind beginning with the letters ‘d’ and ‘w’ is …dweeb, which is Wattmeisterling numero uno’s pet name for her illustrious father.

This midweek race is a warm up for the Classic Monument, the Ronde van Vlaanderen held this year on Sunday 5th April. It has attracted Nairo Quintana of Movistar, one of the strong favourites for this year’s Tour de France. It both serves as an introduction to a new generation of Classic pretenders, but also brings out the established cobbled climb specialist hardmen like Bjorn Leukemans, Lars Boom, Matti Breschel, Stijn Devolder and many other riders names crowded with consonants.

These guys come back to this event year after year with the sole purpose of suffering on the stinging, slippery climbs of the hellingen and in turn inflicting pain on their less hardy rivals. Racing hard over this landscape is part of their DNA. It’s a great race which could be played out in various ways ;solo break, bunch finish or just a select few rouleurs.

Alas, The Wattmeister will not be lining up this year. After finishing a close up 44th out of 55 riders at the Cat 4 Hillingdon Crit race last Saturday, his Directeur Sportif, Tinckel van Winckel has decided to make the Abbeyfield Three Day Raffle race held in Broadstairs in September the main focus of The Wattmeister’s season. In the meantime, there is plenty of good stuff taking place in Belgium.

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