The Spring Classics in Belgium will be held without spectators due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the races’ organisers.
The Opening Weekend at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Tour of Flanders, scheduled for April, will be affected.
Belgium’s coronavirus infections have reduced starkly from October’s peak, but much of central Europe is keeping restrictions tight in the face of new variants of the disease.
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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).
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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."