It’s the last full Spring Classics weekend, and it goes out with a bang! There’s the first ever women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the climax of the first ever women’s Ardennes Week, but before that, the EPZ Omloop van Borsele: a cobbley sprinters’ Classic, with an ITT for the elite women, and a three-stage Junior women’s race, the last round of the UCI’s Nations Cup.
Of course, Liège is the biggest race, but sadly we can’t expect a livestream. We can hope for highlights to be shown in the men’s race coverage, and a Periscope view of the finishline, but I’ll tell you how we can follow the race live… But first, Borsele.
EPZ Omloop van Borsele, 21st-23rd April 2017
We can follow all the races on the excellent race tickers, in Dutch, but works via google translate too. Hopefully there will be updates on the race twitter and facebook, and there’s lots of information on the race website, including about the men’s races they run, and photos and videos from previous years.
Elite Time Trial, 21st April
While it’s not UCI-categorised, it traditionally had a world class field, as it’s part of the KNWU (the Dutch Cycling Federation) series, and important for things like selection for the Dutch Olympic and World squads. But this year it’s a much more reduced field – but still worth following.
EPZ Omloop van Borsele, 22nd April
Like the ITT, the elite women’s race is lacking a lot of big names, presumably because the Ardennes Week, three huge Classics in eight days, is the priority – but that just means there’s more UCI points for the other teams, and an opportunity for development riders. It’s flat, cobbly, can get very windy, and is one for the sprinters.
The race starts at 14:30 CEST (1:30pm BST; 9:30am EDT; 10:30pm AEST) and is due to finish around 17:55 CEST (4:55pm BST; 11:55am EDT; 1:55am AEST). Provisional startlist here, course map, technical guide and the specific ticker page.
Junior Omloop van Borsele, 21st-23rd April
Like the Junior Healthy Ageing Tour, Junior Bosele offers young riders the chance to race on the same roads as the elite women, and is great for spotting future stars, as previous winners include Laura Kenny and Hannah Barnes. You can find the provisional startlist here and the technical guide here.
It starts with an ITT, then two road races, Stage 2 being on the same course as the elite women’s race.
- Stage 1, the ITT, Friday 21st April – starts 17:00 CEST (4pm BST, 11am EDT, 1am AEST), due to finish approx – map and specific stage ticker.
- Stage 2, Saturday 22nd April – starts 10:30 CEST (9:30am BST, 4:30am EDT, 6:30pm AEST), due to finishe approx 12:19 CEST – map and specific stage ticker.
- Stage 3, Sunday 23rd April – starts 15:00 CEST (2pm BST, 9am EDT, 11pm AEST), due to finish approx 16:46 CEST – map and specific stage ticker.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège, 23rd April
Well, technically, Bastogne-Liège, as the women are limited to how far they can race. It’s 135.5km, but on the last 35km or so are shared with the men’s route, and it just has four climbs to the men’s ten, though the rest of the terrain is rolling rather than flat.
The race starts at 10:05 European CEST (9:05am UK BST, 4:05am USA EDT, 6:05pm Australian AEST) and is due to finish between 13:48 and 14:14 CEST (from 12:48pm BST, 7:48am EDT, 9:48pm AEST). You can find the full timings, as well as the map and profiles, on the race website, under time schedule tab.
The TV coverage for the men’s race is due to start at 14:15 CEST, so it’s very unlikely the women’s finish can be shown – but if you want streams for the men, it’s on Eurosport and SBS in Australia (stream here) – and you can find streams here, here, here and here.
Follow on twitter
Of course there’s always twitter. Well…. you’d never think that the ASO was the biggest race organiser out there, given that they’ve been promoting the race really well under #LBLF2017 for ages, but seem to have swapped to #LBLwomen with 2 days to go. Of course we can always follow the WorldTour hashtag, #UCIWWT, which never changes. The race twitter is @LiegeBastogneL, and I will be following via my list of live race tweeters.
I’ll link to more team previews as I see them, and of course I’ll collect any video and photo galleries I see after the race is over.
If you, like me, are frustrated we couldn’t see even the finish of the ASO’s Flèche Wallonne or Liège-Bastogne-Liège, please do tell the race organisers that there is an audience, and maybe we can change things for 2018. I’ve got some contact details, and ways we can do that, in this article here.
If you DO want to see some videos from live women’s racing, my collections of what we saw from the previous WorldTour races Strade Bianche, Ronde van Drenthe, Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Amstel Gold, as well as the entire Healthy Ageing Tour stage race and Omloop van het Hageland day race.
I’m funded to do this kind of women’s cycling work by my fantastic Patreon supporters. You can join them over here for as little as €/£/$ 2 per month.