This week we recap our highlights and best parts of the 2017 women’s road season. It’s been an amazing year of racing and there’s so much to celebrate. From the spring classics through to worlds in Norway, we’ve got opinions on them all! Get your best of the year opinions now! (1:32:44 MIN / 86.91 MB)
Oh Flanders! Yesterday was one of the biggest days of the women’s cycling calendar, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and I still can’t believe I got to commentate it! I have always wanted to watch it live, of course, and last year we came so close – but this year I saw the last 40km from the commentary box on the finish-line at Oudenaarde, so I could be biased when I say this was a hugely thrilling edition – but really, this had so much drama, fantastic racing, and a really interesting tactical decision I think we’ll be talking about for ages.
Here’s the full replay, with commentary from Rochelle Gilmore and me. You can’t watch it from Belgium, I’m afraid, and you may need to be logged into facebook – but if you can, please give it the hits – not because it’s me, but because it’s the official stream, and demonstrating the audience really makes a difference.
There’s also an unofficial video here, for people not in Belgium/without facebook.
Dan and I podcasted about what it was like commentating the race, with photos I took on my twitter.
Sporza’s official highlights (please do click for the stats) and another highlights:
There’ll be more videos to come, which I’ll edit in (and please do share anything else you see, in the comments below or on my twitter) and I have a load of great photo galleries and race reports – I definitely recommend reading these because the post-race quotes are great.
Sunday 2nd April 2017
OK, this is exciting! The Ronde van Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders, is one of the high points of the women’s cycling calendar, and the end of a mini-cobbled classics season. It’s Round 5 of the Women’s WorldTour, but more importantly, it’s a legend of the sport. I’m not exaggerating when I say that 90% of the peloton dream of winning this – it’s up there with an Olympic Gold, a World Championships rainbow jersey, winning the Giro, because this is a race all cycling fans love, and being a winner of De Ronde is something that will bring kudos for all a rider’s life, in the key cycling country. And this year…. WE CAN WATCH LIVE! Not the whole race, but the last part – the fourth WorldTour race we’ve been able to see.
If you’re in Belgium, you can watch it on Belgian TV station Proximus, on channel 600 and their website, if you’re a subscriber. You’ll need to check the local TV guide to get the exact times – I think it’s 10:55, but it may start later. There may be feeds of this here, here or here.
If you’re NOT in Belgium, you can watch the last 35km, on the Flanders Classic facebook and on the Flanders Classic website. The stream will start at 13:30 European CEST (12:30pm UK BST; 7:30am USA EDT; 9:30pm Australian AEST). The stream will be commentated by ex-pro and Wiggle-High5 owner Rochelle Gilmore, and… me!
If you missed it live, you can watch a stream replay on the Flanders Classic facebook – and of course, I’ll put up a post of links to videos etc as soon as I see them.
In addition, the team presentation will be livestreamed on the Proximus facebook. on Saturday, between 16:20 and 18:00 CET (from 3:20pm UK BST, 10:20am EDT; 1:15am AEDT)
But that’s not all! We can also follow the race as it happens, on twitter – and read on for lots more race information.
Wow, what a race! I love the Ronde van Vlaanderen so much, Flanders never, ever disappoints, and while the English stream was pretty much a disaster, there were tons of videos, thanks to our internet Robin Hoods. Not to mention the usual photos, race reports & more. I’ll edit more in as I see them – and of course, please do share things in the comments, or with me on twitter, and I’ll add that too.
There are tons of mini-Sporza clips – click them all, to show the fantastic host broadcaster we love them:
Small clip in English from SBS Cycling Central. And here’s the full tv broadcast (Dutch, don’t worry about the grey screen, it still plays).
The Ronde van Vlaanderen, aka the Tour of Flanders, is a race that almost every rider in the women’s peloton wants to win. It’s up there with the Olympics and World Championships, and that’s partly because of the long history of the men’s race – if you talk about Flanders, pretty much every cycling fan has an idea of it. But it’s always been a bit of a paradox for fans – a glorious race to watch in person, a fantastic experience for the peloton… but very hard for us to see, until now.
This year, everything changes – and in really exciting ways. Not only will we get a whole hour and a half of the women’s race, unrestricted, with English commentary on Proximus TV, but Sporza, the host-broadcaster, will also be split-screening key moments of the women’s race into the men’s coverage, which is going to give us an incredible audience, and the ability to present the race in different ways to different viewers.
Believe me when I say this is a game-changer, a real milestone for women’s cycling. First, because it’s Flanders, and secondly because for everyone who says “showing women’s races is just too hard” (never mind that tons of other races manage it) lose that argument. We’ve demonstrated, with statistics, over and over and over that the audience is there – and when a major broadcaster at one of the biggest races in the world, shows it can be done, there are no more excuses any more! Life’s fantastic!
So, how do we watch and follow the race?
Now, let’s be up front about this – we can’t watch it live, there’s no streaming of this one, and unlike the first two rounds, the Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe and the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, we won’t get the hour-long video afterwards. But all isn’t lost! There will be some great ways to follow the race as it happens, and video to watch out for later.
The race starts on Sunday 5th April at 11:00 Euro CET (10am GMT; 7pm Aussie AEST; 5am USA EDT) and is predicted to finish between 14:42 and 15:07 CET. First, check out the Ronde van Vlaanderen website, where they’ve got all the course information, and they link to a live ticker from Nieuwsblad.be, which is likely to be mostly men, but may have some women’s updates.
Then, of course, twitter. Here’s the Ronde van Vlaanderen account, and as always I’ve updated my live racing twitter list so we can get as many live updates as possible. Sporza usually put highlights of the women’s race after the men’s race finishes, and as they’re the host broadcaster, we might see that on other channels too. They’ll have video highlights after the race, and the UCI will have a short clip on Monday and a 26 min clip on Wednesday on their youtube.
For more information, check out the previews from Podium Café, Velofocus, Velorooms and Ciclismofem. And to get an idea of what teams are feeling right now, there are recon photos from Lotto-Soudal and a video from Wiggle Honda: