For many years now Flanders Classics has strived for equality for all participants. As we do since 2018, we presented all men’s and women’s teams jointly in the iconic ‘t Kuipke during an amazing show. Right after, we lined up the men’s and women’s race alongside each other at the Emile Clauslaan for their respective starts. The Elite Men took off just eight minutes before the Elite Women in order to keep the numerous fans and the nice atmosphere at the start site for the women’s start as well.
In normal conditions, the men ride faster than the women and the gap gradually increases. This year, however, the men were slower than usual in the beginning of the race, with a speed below 30km/h at times. This circumstance caused a decreasing gap between the women’s and the men’s convoy. After 30 km, and for safety reasons, the organization had to intervene because the leader of the women’s race was getting too close to the convoy of the men’s race. At that point the elite women’s race was neutralized for about 5 minutes time. As soon as the safety was restored the women were able to continue, with respect for the previous time differences obtained during the race.
In the future, the organization, in consultation with all authorities, will consider letting the women’s race start a few minutes later than this year’s, to avoid any conflict between the men’s and women’s race.
Flanders Classics remains committed to a joint team presentation and start and to promote women’s cycling in general.