Belgian Spring Classics to go ahead without spectators due to Covid-19
The Tour of Flanders and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad are just two of the Belgian Spring Classics to be affected by a ban on spectators in the coming months. The ban of spectators has been put in force in response to the coronavirus pandemic in the European country. Events alongside the races will also be banned.
Christine Majerus of Luxembourg and Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam / Cobblestones / during the 16th Tour of Flanders 2019 - Ronde van Vlaanderen, Women Elite a 159,2km race from Oudenaarde to Oudenaarde
A statement from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad organisers read: "Unfortunately, the current health situation does not yet allow us to cheer on the riders at the start in Ghent, along the course or at the finish in Ninove.
"Therefore, we are asking you to follow the opening classic from your couch this year."
Spectators will be prevented from congregating at the start and finishes of the various races and stages, as well as hilly and cobbled sections.
"So for once, you will be able to watch the opening classic better on television. The Flanders Classics autumn in 2020 was a success partly thanks to the cycling fans. Help us this year and experience the race from your living room,” the statement continued.
Other events include Gent-Wevelgem (March 28), Dwars door Vlaanderen (March 31), the Tour of Flanders (April 4), Scheldeprijs (April 7) and Brabantse Pijl (April 14).
Highlights of a remarkable edition of the men's Tour of Flanders
Governor of East Flanders Carina Van Cauter has requested that other events along the race courses are prohibited.
"There is a ban on gathering together along the course and it is mandatory to wear a mouth mask. All these measures will certainly apply until April 5, the day after the Tour of Flanders. This way the organizers know where they stand,” she said.
"Last year we already had a good exercise with the Tour of Flanders. The strict measures were very well observed then. If the cycling fans do the same this year, starting on 27 February with the Omloop, we will have a fantastic spring of cycling again."