On Sunday, October 18th, the 104th edition of the Tour of Flanders will get underway in Flanders, Belgium. Also referred to as De Ronde or Ronde van, the popular race was moved from April to this weekend due to the health crisis.
The Tour of Flanders is considered one of the five monuments of cycling and one of two major cobbled classics. Additionally, this race is a symbol of Flemish pride. You could also say it’s the Super Bowl of Belgium.
Typically, over a half million residents would line the streets for this race. However, due to social distancing, fans will not be able to stand on the sides of the famed cobbled sections. With that said, this race will probably break viewership records in that region.
Some of the sport’s biggest stars like Julian Alaphilippe, Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel will take the starting line.
Cycling betting sites have released odds and props for this iconic one-day classic. Let’s strap our helmets on tight, make sure our bikes are in the right gear, and risk life and limb as we fly over the cobble stones with our predictions.
Tour of Flanders Race Preview
The 104th Tour of Flanders will start in Antwerp and race 267km (166mi) to the finish located in Oudenaarde, which has hosted the end of the race over the last few years.
This monument is punctuated by cobbled sections and sharp, punchy hills where only the strongest rider will survive the war of attrition.
The first cobbled sections don’t arrive until the 85km mark. Prior to that, the race will be rather uneventful as teams prepare for the challenges that lay ahead. However at the 130km mark things will pick up even more as there are numerous hills in succession.
Over the next 100km or so, fireworks will go off as riders try to escape safely through the cobbled sections and race over the climbs that have sections as steep as 20 percent. The last 13km will be flat, but filled with desperate riders looking for a career defining victory.
Previous Tour of Flanders Race Winners and Historic Stats
The first race was held in 1913 and won by Paul Deman. Since then, Belgian riders have won this race 69 times. Italy is second with 11 wins. No American has ever won this race.
One of Belgium’s most famous Tour of Flanders competitors Briek Schotte won this race twice and holds the all-time record with 20 appearances. However, he only finished 16 of them. George Hincapie did this race 17 times and finished every one of them, which gives him the most finishes all-time.
Six riders hold the mark for the most all-time wins at three apiece:
Achiel Buysse (BEL)
Fiorenzo Magni (ITA)
Eric Leman (BEL)
Johan Museeuw (BEL)
Tom Boonen (BEL)
Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
Johan Museeuw and Briek Schotte are tied with the most podium finishes at eight apiece. However, Museeuw had one more victory than Schotte. Only Italy’s Forenzo Magni has won the race three straight years.
Six different cyclists have won this race in consecutive years. It was most recently accomplished by Fabian Cancellara in 2013, 2014. Alberto Bettiol is looking to join this list as he won last year.
The following is a list of winners dating back to 2005:
These cyclists are considered the odds on favorites to win the Tour of Flanders:
Mathieu van der Poel (+240)
Top 3 (-155)
Mathieu van der Poel (MvdP) will make his second appearance in the Tour of Flanders. Last year, he finished 4th overall and many pundits think he has a real shot at winning on Sunday.
MvdP has picked up his efforts since the sport returned to action in August. He was 15th at Strade Bianche, 13th at Milano-Sanremo, 3rd at Gran Piemonte, 10th at Il Lombardia, won a stage at the Tirreno-Adriatico, and won the BinckBank Tour.
Since the calendar turned to October, MvdP was 6th at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 2nd ant De Brabanste-Pijl and 9th at Gent-Wevelgem after some issues with Wout Van Aert.
The GW race is a transition into the Tour of Flanders and it’s a bit concerning that van der Poel barely cracked the Top 10 as he went up against some of this race’s betting favorites. His strategies were off and one has to wonder if that will change for this weekend’s event.
With that said, the Tour of Flanders course is perfectly suited for WvdP’s strengths and he will certainly be one of the men to beat on Sunday.
Wout Van Aert (+250)
Top 3 (-155)
If you have followed my ongoing betting coverage of cycling over the last few seasons then you would already know that I am a big fan of Wout Van Aert.
Just when I thought he couldn’t get any better on the bike, he went out there and had an amazing performance in the Tour de France last month. Not only did he win two stages, he was 5th in the green jersey competition and was dropping some of the best climbers in the mountains.
Since the TDF, Van Aert finished 2nd in both the time trial and the road race for the World Championships. He took two weeks off before competing in the Gent-Wevelgem where he finished 8th, but had a shot at winning if it weren’t for van der Poel.
Prior to the TDF, WVA was 1st in the points competition at the Criterium du Dauphine, 1st at Milano-Sanremo, 3rd at Milano-Torino and 1st at Strade Bianche.
I believe Wout Van Aert will be one of the favorites on Sunday as he competes in his 3rd ever Tour of Flanders. Last year, he finished 14th and in 2018, he finished 9th.
Julian Alaphilippe (+1100)
Top 3 (+250)
Julian Alaphilippe is one of my Top 5 favorite cyclists along with Wout Van Aert, Chris Froome, Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish. I thoroughly enjoy any race that he’s a part of due to his tenacity and how often he animates the race.
Alaphilippe didn’t have the success in this year’s Tour de France as he did last year, but he still won a stage and wore the yellow jersey for a few days. Following the TDF, Alaphilippe has had a great deal of success.
Julian Alaphilippe: Don't call me a favourite for Tour of Flanders.
The French rider won the road race at the World Championships and finished 1st at De Brabantse Pijl. However, he was 5th at Liege-Bastogne-Liege due to a premature celebration that cost him the race. Otherwise, Alaphilippe could’ve won three straight events.
“It is the first time that I’ll race the Ronde. It’s hard enough for the riders who’ve ridden it five or six times. I’ve only come to have a look. It is impossible for me to tell you whether I have the physical qualities to shine in the final of the Ronde. Just because you can have some fun on a few cobblestones does not mean you can win. Please don’t make me a favorite. I want to race well, help my team and give it the maximum.”
Mads Pedersen (+1100)
Top 3 (+300)
Since the Tour de France, Pederson has ramped up his success on the season. He punctuated his TDF appearance with a 2nd place result on the final stage.
He then finished 5th at BinckBank Tour while winning a stage and the green jersey. Last weekend, Pedersen looked strong in winning the Gent-Wevelgem after sprinting past other cyclists for the win.
Mads has two appearances in the Tour of Flanders. He didn’t finish last year, but was 2nd in 2018. With his strong season so far, and previous success in this race, Pederson’s could provide a nice payout to bettors taking a chance with the 24 year old cyclist from Denmark.
Soren Kragh Andersen (+1800)
Top 3 (+500)
Let’s get the bad out of the way first. This will be Andersen’s 5th Tour of Flanders appearance and he’s never finished in the Top 50. He also has two DNFs as well.
Now, let’s get to the good. Andersen finished 10th at Paris Nice and won two stages at the Tour de France. He also won a stage at BinckBank where he finished 2nd overall.
Andersen comes into this weekend’s Tour of Flanders as one of the Top 5 betting favorites and hopes to capitalize on his latest momentum in August and September.
Best Betting Value for Tour of Flanders
The following cyclists offer the best value based on their current odds, their 2020 season to date, and their past success at this race:
Kasper Asgreen (+2500)
Top 3 (+800)
Asgreen didn’t have a great Tour de France as he was typically used to help his leaders. However, following the TDF, Asgreen finished 6th in the time trial for the World Championships and was 11th at Gent-Wevelgem.
Yet, a big reason why Asgreen offers value to win the race and to finish on the podium is due to his performance last year when he finished 2nd in his first ever Tour of Flanders appearance.
Asgreen is on a strong team with Alaphilippe and cobble specialist Yves Lampaert. If Alaphilippe doesn’t have the firepower on Sunday, you can expect Asgreen to be in the running for another strong finish.
Jasper Stuyven (+2800)
Top 3 (+750)
Just like with Asgreen, Jasper Stuyven is also the second in line on his own team as he rides with Mads Pederson who is one of the race favorites. Yet, also like Asgreen, Stuyven could be a contender for this race if Pederson struggles at all.
For Stuyven, this will be his 7th appearance in the Tour of Flanders. His best result came in 2018 when he finished 7th overall.
On the season, Stuyven’s most notable performances came in the Tour de France where he finished in the Top 5 on three stages and in the Top 10 on six stages.
Matteo Trentin (+2800)
Top 3 (+750)
Matteo Trentin appears to be rounding into form over the last two months. He finished 3rd in the green jersey competition at the Tour de France, which is a solid result. Then he went on to finish 3rd at Gent-Wevelgem last weekend.
Trentin is one of these riders that excels on the punchy stages, but hasn’t always had the best of luck in the Tour of Flanders. In seven previous starts, he has never cracked the Top 10. His best performance was in 2017 when he finished 13th.
With that said, Trentin’s performance at GW does give some hope for those of you looking for a value play on Sunday. He might get edged out in this race, but he still offers solid value for a Top 3 finish.
Top Longshot to Win the Tour of Flanders
Michal Kwiatkowski (+5000) is my choice for the best longshot to win this race. In addition to his race winning odds, he also has Top 3 odds of +1200.
In four previous Tour of Flanders appearances, Kwiatkowski has yet to crack the Top 25. His best result is 27th in 2016. He didn’t compete in this race last year.
Kwiatkowski’s best results this season was a Stage 18 win in the Tour de France. He also finished 4th in the World Championships road race, 6th at Le Fleche Wallonne, 10th at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and 6th at De Brabanste Pijl.
He’s certainly heating up over the last month and is very capable of conquering the hills of Flanders. My only concern is how he does on the cobbles and if he has enough juice left in the legs to compete for the sprint at the end of the race.
Who Wins the 2020 Tour of Flanders: MvdP or WVA?
At the Gent-Wevelgem, Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel had a bit of conflict after the race due to MvdP’s tactics as the group approached the finishing line.
Gent-Wevelgem: Wout van Aert begins penultimate race of season with high ambitions
“Unfortunately there was no prize this time because someone looked at me all the time; he apparently wanted me to lose rather than win himself. I had a chance in the sprint, but knew attacks would keep coming and I couldn’t keep reacting. There was always the same person on my wheel. That’s his tactic, but he’s not slow himself, so I’m disappointed.”
Wout is referring to how MvdP kept closing the gap every time Van Aert got any distance from the leading group. Although MvdP disagrees with Van Aert saying that he raced to lose, van der Poel does understand why WVA was frustrated:
“I think it’s a bit low to say I’m riding to make him lose, while always driving to win a race. But I don’t blame him either. I also understand him because I did chase him a few times, but I also want to win, and I know that he is one of the best in the world and so if I don’t get him I certainly won’t win.”
Ultimately, MvdP brought the group back together each time and it allowed for other riders to pass them up at the line. Mads Pedersen benefitted from van der Poel’s efforts and sprinted to the line ahead of a handful of other riders including WVA, MvdP, Bettiol, and Trentin.
I bring up this incident from Gent-Wevelgem because these two riders are the race favorites this weekend and they could very well end up in the same scenario with MvdP chasing down WVA’s attacks.
If that happens again then you can expect other riders like Pedersen, Bettiol or Alaphilippe taking advantage and winning this race.
I believe the Top 3 riders on Sunday will be:
Wout Van Aert (+250)
Mathieu van der Poel (+240)
Mads Pederson (+1100)
I would love to pick Alaphilippe to win this race, but he turned me off with his comments about not making him a favorite.
With that said, I am going with Wout Van Aert to win on Sunday. I believe he will edge out MvdP, Pedersen and Bettiol to win the final monument of the season.
Who Wins the 2020 Tour of Flanders –Wout Van Aert (+250)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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