Tour of Flanders: a novel strategy to beat the Covid-19

The cycling event in Belgium 'broke the mold' with an initiative that allowed it to celebrate its 2020 edition. How did they do it?

Computer with an image of a cyclist pedaling.

With the conjuncture of COVID-19, new ways of enjoying the sport have emerged. / Photo: LatinAmerican Post

LatinamericanPost| Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: Tour de Flandes: una novedosa estrategia para vencer al Covid-19

Not even the Coronavirus could cope with the brilliant minds of the organizers of the Tour of Flanders, which in this 2020 edition was the center of attention of the cycling world and of sport in general, by virtually celebrating the race with 13 participants from home through a chip. The Dutchman Greg Van Avermaet, the current Olympic champion, was the winner.

The virtual edition brought together, apart from Van Avermaet, the outgoing champion Alberto Bettiol, and other luxury names such as Evenepoel, Lampaert, Wellens, and De Gendt, outstanding cyclists who competed using the new Bkool online platform, which was applied for 32 kilometers through the towns of Kruisberg, Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg and the final section in Oudenaarde.

Behind Van Avermaet was Belgian Oliver Naesen from the Ag2r La Mondiale team, while Irishman Nicolas Roche from the Sunweb team came in third. On hard ramps with a 20% drop, Van Avermaet surprisingly broke free and left his rivals behind, who could never reach him again. Thus, Bettiol (Education First), had no luck defending his title in this 104th edition of the Belgian classic.


Also read: These 5 footballers have donated to fight the pandemic

How did they do it?

Curious triumph for Van Avermaet, not only for being the first in Flanders but for the conditions under which it was held. In this particular case, the key was a simulation, it was not a video game as many may think. It was made possible with the Bkool app and, through an intelligent roller, which consists of the user pedaling along roads that seem real that even imitate the unevenness and their own efforts to try and reach other cyclists. Everything as if it were real.

This achievement of Flanders, it must be clarified, is not only related to the fact of the Covid19, but to the future of sports. For example, the Giro d'Italia has already proposed in the short term a virtual prologue that awards points for the general classification as if it were a field test. It is a possibility that is gaining more and more strength.

With the Bkool, the rider can see himself on the screen, as well as the rest of the competitors, from conditioned spaces in their homes.

In the case of the Tour of Flanders, the 2020 edition lasted an hour, and was even narrated by its regular commentators, in addition to offering statements by the winner at the finish line, with his young daughter in the background, A marvel!

It must be remembered that the UCI calendar is paralyzed until June 1, at least, even though the first event after that date, the Tour of Switzerland, has already been canceled. The Tour de France still has a chance to take place (June 27), but it will depend on how the fight against the Coronavirus progresses.


Similar events

Thanks to a video game brand, the Copa del Rey of Spain underwent a preliminary phase that defined 16 teams for the round of 16. In this FIFA 20, the 'merengue' Marco Asensio demonstrated his skills as a 'Gamer' and was the great figure in the Real Madrid team, who beat Leganés 4-2 in the Grand Final with goals from Eden Hazard and Luka Modric, and double score by Asensio himself.

Another sport that did something similar was Formula One, which virtually took the Bahrain Grand Prix (previously canceled) and which aims to simulate all the races in the series. In the aforementioned award, the honor roll was made up of Guanyu Zhou (Renault), Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes) and Philipp Eng (Renault).



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