Virtual Tour of Flanders: Greg van Avermaet wins online 'race'

Virtual Tour of Flanders on YouTube
The Virtual Tour of Flanders was streamed live, with links to watch all the participating riders

Belgian Olympic road race champion Greg van Avermaet was crowned as winner of the Virtual Tour of Flanders as 13 riders raced in the one-day event on training bikes in their homes.

The race was scheduled to be held in Belgium on Sunday, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Van Avermaet’s compatriot Oliver Naesen beat Ireland’s Nicolas Roche in a sprint finish for second.

The virtual 30km course was streamed live on YouTube.

It covered the final three climbs of the real-life 267.2km route, with live video links to all the participating riders.

“I am happy to be involved with this event, regardless of any results of the day, the key message is that as a sport we are trying to fight this world crisis together,” Roche wrote on Instagram before the event.

“I am happy to support these initiatives that will give everyone a bit of entertainment. We all know nothing will replace the real Flanders.”

Horse racing has also turned to technology this weekend, with a virtual Grand National raising £2.6m for NHS Charities Together.

Nicolas Roche posted a sign on his Instagram story saying 'Please do not disturb'
Roche posted a sign on his Instagram story saying 'Please do not disturb. Online bike race in progress. (PS no power cuts much appreciated) 15:30-16.45. Thank you in advance.'

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