Van Avermaet’s virtual victory: Daily News Digest

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.

After more than a decade of trying to win the Tour of Flanders, Greg Van Avermaet can now finally say he has at least won a virtual running of the race, as organizers held De Ronde 2020: Lockdown Edition on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Belgian attacked on the digitally rendered Paterberg and held on to take the solo victory with Oliver Naesen earning runner-up honors and Nicolas Roche in third.

He did not get to celebrate in front of a big crowd in Oudenaarde – he was in his attic at home instead – but it’s something, right?

Until next time, readers.

What’s news

| Van Avermaet wins Lockdown Ronde

Greg Van Avermaet won De Ronde 2020: Lockdown Edition on Sunday, triumphing in a virtual Tour of Flanders on the Bkool platform from the comfort of his own home. The Classics veteran put in an attack on the (virtual) Paterberg and held on win ahead of Oliver Naesen and Nicolas Roche.

“It was a funny feeling, you suffered without having the feeling of being in the races,” said Van Avermaet, whose young daughter joined him in the attic as he cooled down after the win. “My girl, who couldn’t understand why her dad was busy racing at home, was very happy for me.”

| Tchmil treated for cancer

Three-time Monument winner Andrei Tchmil revealed on Facebook that he has been diagnosed with cancer, and recently underwent an operation.

“Dear friends, 20 years ago I won the race of my dreams,” the 2000 Tour of Flanders champion said. “20 years later I had to fight another competitor, which seemed unbeatable, which silently eats away at you inside – cancer.

“Many thanks to Professor Gianluca Baiocchi and his team of doctors in Brescia for the liberating operation and for the help and support I had.”

| Van der Poel ponders Tour

Mathieu van der Poel was all-in for the mountain bike event at the Olympics this year, but now that the Tokyo Games have been postponed to 2021, Sporza reports that he is wondering whether it might be the right time to make his Tour de France debut, assuming the race happens this season, and assuming his second-division Alpecin-Fenix squad can score an invite.

“If the Tour is ridden this year, then maybe we can lobby to get in there,” van der Poel said, according to Sporza. “I think we would have an exceptional Tour de France with many other types of riders, I would certainly be open to that.

| Roche: ‘Maybe a bit sudden’ for teams to cut salaries

Nicolas Roche weighed in on the cuts affecting numerous teams around the peloton in an interview with Cyclingnews, noting that “There hasn’t been any talk of it at Sunweb” and positing that it seemed early for pro teams to be cutting salaries.

“Things could change depending on how the economic situation develops over the next couple of months but so far, we’re only a month into it, so I think it was maybe a bit sudden for teams to cut salaries,” he said according to Cyclingnews. “If this was a crisis of six months, I might have understood.”

| Socially Speaking

It seems like Mark Cavendish is facing some challenges at the moment.

In case you missed it

| Silver linings roadbook: Van Avermaet tries to keep things in perspective

A few days before he was a virtual Tour of Flanders winner, Greg Van Avermaet talked about life on lockdown in a Zoom interview.

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Today’s featured image of Andrei Tchmil and Johan Museeuw battling at the Tour of Flanders comes from Cor Vos.

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