Belgian hardman Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) got away early on the first stage

Monumental postponements, Van Avermaet shifts focus: Daily News Digest

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.

After taking a lot of criticism last week for continuing to run Paris-Nice but for its eighth stage even as other events across Europe were called off entirely, the ASO has done the proactive thing for the next big races on its calendar. The French organizer announced on Tuesday that Paris-Roubaix, La Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège were postponed.

Shortly thereafter, Flanders Classics made its own widely expected announcement, postponing the Tour of Flanders.

We all knew the announcements were probably coming, and in conjunction with the postponements of various other one-days and more likely on the way, it means the Spring Classics are more or less over.

Former Roubaix winner Greg Van Avermaet is trying to keep a positive attitude amid tough times. With so many of his big targets no longer set to take place as planned, he is shifting focus to later in the year, hoping to “get a bit of a spring feeling in the fall.”

Until next time, readers.

What’s news

| ASO postpones Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne, and Liège

The ASO has postponed Paris-Roubaix, La Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège amid the coronavirus crisis.

The ASO is hoping to reschedule its events for later in the year, noting in its announcement that the “organizers have already begun working to try to organize new dates for these monuments, races to which teams, riders and spectators are deeply attached.”

| Tour of Flanders postponed

A few hours after the ASO’s announcement of its major event postponements, Flanders Classics announced that the Tour of Flanders would also be postponed, joining other Flemish one-days like Gent-Wevelgem.

“Indeed, the new measures imposed by the federal government prevent us from organizing the Tour of Flanders on April 5,” said Flanders Classics CEO Tomas Van Den Spiegel in a statement. “There are, of course, more important issues than bike racing right now. We hope that we will all succeed in creating a climate in which we can, in the short term, resume our normal daily lives.”

| Van Avermaet shifts focus

In light of the mass postponements and cancellations of events across the cycling calendar, Greg Van Avermaet is looking to redirect his form to later in the season.

As he told Het Laatste Nieuws, the Tour de France and the Olympics are his big targets now, although there is no guarantee, of course, that those events will be held either. In any case, he and the rest of the peloton are hopeful that racing can return at some point later in the year. “I don’t know if it is possible,” Van Avermaet said, “but in my ideal scenario we get a bit of a spring feeling in the fall.”

| Van Aert calls on the UCI to do more

Weighing in on the various challenges the cycling world faces right now in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad, Wout van Aert wondered whether the UCI might take a greater leadership role in the crisis. The organization recently announced a suspension of race classifications through early April, but only after most major events in that time period had already been called off.

“I think the UCI should be more prominent,” van Aert said. “They are the only party who can say: We will suspend all events until a specific time.”

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Today’s featured image of Greg van Avermaet at the Tour of Flanders comes from Gruber Images.

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