A photographer’s view of the best race of the year
Six months late and raced in an autumnal gloom, the most anticipated Monument of the season (RIP Paris-Roubaix 2020) was run and won on the cobbles of Flanders. It was a characteristically scintillating spectacle, even without the hordes of Leffe-crazed roadside fans that normally define the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
The first race to get rolling was the men’s edition, a gruelling 244 km excursion from Antwerp to Oudenaarde over some of the sport’s most famous climbs. Two pre-race favourites and long-time rivals ended up fighting it out for the win as Julian Alaphilippe continued fieldwork for his ongoing thesis, “Is there a curse of the rainbow jersey?”
The women’s race was a little less dramatic, but no less impressive. Boels-Dolmans, one of the most dominant squads in cycling history, delivered a tactical masterclass with Anna van der Breggen and Amy Pieters setting it up nicely for Chantaal van der Broek-Blaak to slip away solo for the line.
Through the lenses of Jered and Ashley Gruber, Kristof Ramon and Cor Vos, here is how the closing weekend of a very strange, very fragmented classics season turned out.
The Men’s race