BiciSport in Flanders 2018

                                                        Holleweg cobbles near Oudenaarde

                                                      Holleweg cobbles near Oudenaarde

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 20 Mar - A 30k run down the Schelde River bikepath towards Kluisbergen was followed by another 30k home via the Patersberg and Koppenberg climbs. Mike has comfortably climbed the Koppenberg twice in two days (second time was sitting down !). Brian comfortably climbed the Patersberg.

BiciSport in Flanders @ 20 Mar - A 30k run down the Schelde River bikepath towards Kluisbergen was followed by another 30k home via the Patersberg and Koppenberg climbs. Mike has comfortably climbed the Koppenberg twice in two days (second time was sitting down !). Brian comfortably climbed the Patersberg.

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 20 Mar - Mike Lawson & Mike O'Reilly at the Koppenberg.   

BiciSport in Flanders @ 20 Mar - Mike Lawson & Mike O'Reilly at the Koppenberg.  

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 21 Mar - Before a trip to see the De Panne Classic climb over the Kemmelberg cobbles both Mike & Brian ventured out early into the morning cold towards the Kluisbergen Rail Trail direction Koppenberg. Both riders rode over the Koppenberg. 

BiciSport in Flanders @ 21 Mar - Before a trip to see the De Panne Classic climb over the Kemmelberg cobbles both Mike & Brian ventured out early into the morning cold towards the Kluisbergen Rail Trail direction Koppenberg. Both riders rode over the Koppenberg. 

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 21 Mar - at the De Panne Classic on top of the Kemmelberg with the CCC Team support crew. Brian Sprouster & Mike Lawson

BiciSport in Flanders @ 21 Mar - at the De Panne Classic on top of the Kemmelberg with the CCC Team support crew. Brian Sprouster & Mike Lawson

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 21 Mar - the De Panne Classic peloton climbing the cobbled Kemmelberg

BiciSport in Flanders @ 21 Mar - the De Panne Classic peloton climbing the cobbled Kemmelberg

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 21 Mar - at the De Panne Classic after the peloton had passed over the Kemmelberg it was time to find the nearest smoke filled Flemish cafe with the mandatory TV screen to see the finish.

BiciSport in Flanders @ 21 Mar - at the De Panne Classic after the peloton had passed over the Kemmelberg it was time to find the nearest smoke filled Flemish cafe with the mandatory TV screen to see the finish.

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 22 Mar - steady rain all day meant a more restrained approach to going for a pedal and an ideal time to  visit the  Cycling is Religion Museum  (www.koersisreligie.be) at Roeselare near Bruges. This is now a disused church converted into a cycling museum with very much a Flemish view.  (L to R) Brian Spouster, Mike O'Reilly & Mike Lawson   

BiciSport in Flanders @ 22 Mar - steady rain all day meant a more restrained approach to going for a pedal and an ideal time to  visit the Cycling is Religion Museum (www.koersisreligie.be) at Roeselare near Bruges. This is now a disused church converted into a cycling museum with very much a Flemish view.  (L to R) Brian Spouster, Mike O'Reilly & Mike Lawson   

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 23 Mar - E3 Harelbeke Classic passes over the Holleweg cobbles near Oudenaarde with Michael Matthews  

BiciSport in Flanders @ 23 Mar - E3 Harelbeke Classic passes over the Holleweg cobbles near Oudenaarde with Michael Matthews  

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 23 Mar - conditions at the E3 Harelbeke were best described as damp, dismal & bleak. Mike O'Reilly & Mike Lawson on the single track Boueke climb near Ronse

BiciSport in Flanders @ 23 Mar - conditions at the E3 Harelbeke were best described as damp, dismal & bleak. Mike O'Reilly & Mike Lawson on the single track Boueke climb near Ronse

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 23 Mar - E3 Harelbeke and Greg Van Avermaet leads the chase with Phil Gilbert with steady rain falling outside Oudenaarde

BiciSport in Flanders @ 23 Mar - E3 Harelbeke and Greg Van Avermaet leads the chase with Phil Gilbert with steady rain falling outside Oudenaarde

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 23 Mar - a wet E3 Harelbeke this year wasn't overly kind to Peter Sagan

BiciSport in Flanders @ 23 Mar - a wet E3 Harelbeke this year wasn't overly kind to Peter Sagan

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 24 Mar - The Ghent Wevelgem Cyclosportive attracts a huge turnout the day before the pro race. Conditions were something approaching heatwave (with a maximum of 10 degrees forecast) and real shadows were sighted for the first time. L to R - at the start Mike Lawson, Daniel Vanechop & Brian Sprouster.     

BiciSport in Flanders @ 24 Mar - The Ghent Wevelgem Cyclosportive attracts a huge turnout the day before the pro race. Conditions were something approaching heatwave (with a maximum of 10 degrees forecast) and real shadows were sighted for the first time. L to R - at the start Mike Lawson, Daniel Vanechop & Brian Sprouster.    

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 24 Mar - GW Cyclosporive and Daniel Vanechop & Brian Sprouster at the Menin Gate in Ieper. The Menin Gate is a World War 1 Monument to those fallen soldiers with no known grave.   

BiciSport in Flanders @ 24 Mar - GW Cyclosporive and Daniel Vanechop & Brian Sprouster at the Menin Gate in Ieper. The Menin Gate is a World War 1 Monument to those fallen soldiers with no known grave.   

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 25 Mar - The Ghent Wevelgem Classic is a most difficult pro race to follow as a spectator - it just doesn't lend itself to taking short cuts along narrow country lanes in the Peugeot car. As an alternative Mike Lawson & Brian Sprouster hit the local bergs near Oudenaarde and rode the Johan Museeuw Classic Cyclosportive. Mike Lawson did 130k and Brian Sprouster the 40k. Mike O'Reilly was resigned to figuring out how he was going to get this sign home in his luggage.   Picture was taken at the Eikenberg climb just 1k from the Kokerelle B&B. Maarkedal is the local regions name.

BiciSport in Flanders @ 25 Mar - The Ghent Wevelgem Classic is a most difficult pro race to follow as a spectator - it just doesn't lend itself to taking short cuts along narrow country lanes in the Peugeot car. As an alternative Mike Lawson & Brian Sprouster hit the local bergs near Oudenaarde and rode the Johan Museeuw Classic Cyclosportive. Mike Lawson did 130k and Brian Sprouster the 40k. Mike O'Reilly was resigned to figuring out how he was going to get this sign home in his luggage. Picture was taken at the Eikenberg climb just 1k from the Kokerelle B&B. Maarkedal is the local regions name.

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 26 Mar - Today was Muur (or Wall) day at the Muur of Geraadsbergan. A famous cobbled climb used in major races over several decades. Mike Lawson just near the summit.      

BiciSport in Flanders @ 26 Mar - Today was Muur (or Wall) day at the Muur of Geraadsbergan. A famous cobbled climb used in major races over several decades. Mike Lawson just near the summit.     

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 26 Mar - Mike Lawson, having climbed the first Muur, then climbs the Chapel Muur cobbled climb with the lovely Church at the summit.  

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 26 Mar - Mike Lawson, having climbed the first Muur, then climbs the Chapel Muur cobbled climb with the lovely Church at the summit.  

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 26 Mar - Chapel Church with Brian Sprouster, Daniel Vanechop & Mike Lawson

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 26 Mar - Chapel Church with Brian Sprouster, Daniel Vanechop & Mike Lawson

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 28 Mar - waiting for the Dwars Door Vlaanderen to pass over the Kruisberg climb and Mike Lawson spotted fellow Aussie & BMC Sports Director Alan Pieper

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 28 Mar - waiting for the Dwars Door Vlaanderen to pass over the Kruisberg climb and Mike Lawson spotted fellow Aussie & BMC Sports Director Alan Pieper

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 28 Mar - Dwars Door Vlaanderen (Across Flanders) Classic climbed the Kruisberg twice in slippery & cold conditions. There were few who were looking comfortable.  

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 28 Mar - Dwars Door Vlaanderen (Across Flanders) Classic climbed the Kruisberg twice in slippery & cold conditions. There were few who were looking comfortable.  

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 28 Mar - Dwars Door Vlaanderen across the top of the Knotkerberg climb some 50 kilometres after Kluisberg and fair to say the conditions had edged down from 'slippery & cold' to more like 'thoroughly miserable & bleak'. Everybody was in the hurt box.  

BiciSport in Flanders @ 28 Mar - Dwars Door Vlaanderen across the top of the Knotkerberg climb some 50 kilometres after Kluisberg and fair to say the conditions had edged down from 'slippery & cold' to more like 'thoroughly miserable & bleak'. Everybody was in the hurt box.  

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - a visit to the famous Roubaix Velodrome for Brian Sprouster & Mike Lawson

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - a visit to the famous Roubaix Velodrome for Brian Sprouster & Mike Lawson

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - Mike Lawson at the entrance to the Roubaix Velodrome  

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - Mike Lawson at the entrance to the Roubaix Velodrome 

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - the famous Roubaix showers where every winner earns a special cubicle bearing their name

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - the famous Roubaix showers where every winner earns a special cubicle bearing their name

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - the Roubaix shower block is a walk down memory lane

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - the Roubaix shower block is a walk down memory lane

  B  iciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - the Paris Roubaix Classic may finish on the 'old' Velodrome but the new indoor Stablinski Roubaix Velodrome is state of the art. The Roubaix Velodrome Director Mathieu Stievenard (pictured left) gave the BiciSport group a guided tour through the facility.

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - the Paris Roubaix Classic may finish on the 'old' Velodrome but the new indoor Stablinski Roubaix Velodrome is state of the art. The Roubaix Velodrome Director Mathieu Stievenard (pictured left) gave the BiciSport group a guided tour through the facility.

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - the Stablinski Velodrome has 44 degree bankings

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 29 Mar - the Stablinski Velodrome has 44 degree bankings

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - The Tour of Flanders Finish Village just 2k outside Oudenaarde was built under a week and is strictly temporary. They start demolishing first thing Monday. 

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - The Tour of Flanders Finish Village just 2k outside Oudenaarde was built under a week and is strictly temporary. They start demolishing first thing Monday. 

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - the day of the Tour of Flanders Cyclosportive at the Flanders Finish Village breakfast with (left to right) with Mike O'Brien, Mike Lawson & Mike O'Reilly

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - the day of the Tour of Flanders Cyclosportive at the Flanders Finish Village breakfast with (left to right) with Mike O'Brien, Mike Lawson & Mike O'Reilly

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - the Tour of Flanders Cyclosportive start in Oudenaarde

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - the Tour of Flanders Cyclosportive start in Oudenaarde

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - back at the Tour of Flanders Village after the Cyclosportive ... Mike Lawson catches up with Johan Museeuw.  Johan was World Professional Road Race Champion and multiple Paris Roubaix and Tour of Flanders winner. 

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - back at the Tour of Flanders Village after the Cyclosportive ... Mike Lawson catches up with Johan Museeuw.  Johan was World Professional Road Race Champion and multiple Paris Roubaix and Tour of Flanders winner. 

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - at the Eikenberg cobbled climb the local jazz band provided the entertainment

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - at the Eikenberg cobbled climb the local jazz band provided the entertainment

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - Stijn Verhulst (left) and Maarten Verhulst at the top of the Eikenberg cobbbles. Both riders had started in Antwerp at 6.30am and had completed a tough 170k to the Eikenberg with 70k still to the finish in Oudenaarde (the last 70k included 10 more climbs). The Verhulst family has supported many BiciSport riders in Belgium over the years.

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 31 Mar - Stijn Verhulst (left) and Maarten Verhulst at the top of the Eikenberg cobbbles. Both riders had started in Antwerp at 6.30am and had completed a tough 170k to the Eikenberg with 70k still to the finish in Oudenaarde (the last 70k included 10 more climbs). The Verhulst family has supported many BiciSport riders in Belgium over the years.

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 1 Apr - The Ronde day started with seeing the Women's event depart from the centre of Oudenaarde at 11.00am, then a quick dash to the Koppenberg Cafe at Melden for beer, soup & coffee (in that order).  Melden hosted the Ronde Feed Zone after 120k. Left to right - Mike O'Reilly & Mike O'Brien at the Koppenberg Cafe

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 1 Apr - The Ronde day started with seeing the Women's event depart from the centre of Oudenaarde at 11.00am, then a quick dash to the Koppenberg Cafe at Melden for beer, soup & coffee (in that order).  Melden hosted the Ronde Feed Zone after 120k. Left to right - Mike O'Reilly & Mike O'Brien at the Koppenberg Cafe

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 1 Apr - the Ronde Men's peloton passes the Koppenberg Cafe at Melden through the race Feeding Zone.

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 1 Apr - the Ronde Men's peloton passes the Koppenberg Cafe at Melden through the race Feeding Zone.

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 1 Apr - After the Koppenberg Cafe it was the Kortekeer climb towards Ronse.  Picture MO'R.

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 1 Apr - After the Koppenberg Cafe it was the Kortekeer climb towards Ronse. Picture MO'R.

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 1 Apr - next stop was the Koppenberg. Picture above was taken just 750 metres before the start of the famous cobbled climb.  In picture (left to right) is Greg Van Avermatt (BMC), Alexandre Kristoff (UAE), Sep Van Marke (EF Drapac) & Vincenzo Nibali plus helicopter.  Picture MO'R.  

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 1 Apr - next stop was the Koppenberg. Picture above was taken just 750 metres before the start of the famous cobbled climb.  In picture (left to right) is Greg Van Avermatt (BMC), Alexandre Kristoff (UAE), Sep Van Marke (EF Drapac) & Vincenzo Nibali plus helicopter. Picture MO'R.  

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 2 Apr - Eddy Verbust (centre of picture) has been involved with the Ghent 6 Day over the last 40 years. Eddy also has the largest private cycling museum in Belgium

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 2 Apr - Eddy Verbust (centre of picture) has been involved with the Ghent 6 Day over the last 40 years. Eddy also has the largest private cycling museum in Belgium

 B iciSport in Flanders 18 @ 2 Apr - an opportunity not to be missed is a visit to the Verbust cycling museum at De Pinte near Ghent with (left to right) Mike O'Brien, Mike Lawson & Eddy Verbust  

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 2 Apr - an opportunity not to be missed is a visit to the Verbust cycling museum at De Pinte near Ghent with (left to right) Mike O'Brien, Mike Lawson & Eddy Verbust  

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - a short drive from Oudenaarde to the Bourghelles cobbles for a recce of the Paris Roubaix cobbles to come the next weekend. Mike O'Brien (right) and Mike Lawson. Conditions were dry with a firm cold wind. After the cobbles recce it was a ride along the Schelde River back into Belgium and into Oudenaarde. 

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - a short drive from Oudenaarde to the Bourghelles cobbles for a recce of the Paris Roubaix cobbles to come the next weekend. Mike O'Brien (right) and Mike Lawson. Conditions were dry with a firm cold wind. After the cobbles recce it was a ride along the Schelde River back into Belgium and into Oudenaarde. 

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - cobbles at Camphin en Pevele were in rough condition

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - cobbles at Camphin en Pevele were in rough condition

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - Mike Lawson on the Carrefour De L'Arbre cobbles

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - Mike Lawson on the Carrefour De L'Arbre cobbles

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - Mike O'Brien on the Carrefour De L'Arbre cobbles. The cobbles were in very poor condition (that would be a complete understatement).

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - Mike O'Brien on the Carrefour De L'Arbre cobbles. The cobbles were in very poor condition (that would be a complete understatement).

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - Mike Lawson on the Carrefour De L'Arbre cobbles

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - Mike Lawson on the Carrefour De L'Arbre cobbles

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - the final stretch of cobbles on this mid week Roubaix recce  ... Mike Lawson & Mike O'Brien on the Gruson cobbles just outside Roubaix

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 3 Apr - the final stretch of cobbles on this mid week Roubaix recce  ... Mike Lawson & Mike O'Brien on the Gruson cobbles just outside Roubaix

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 4 Apr - the BiciSport group caught up with Rob Hadley & the Newcastle team for a 40k pedal along the Schelde River bike path outside Oudenaarde. Mike O'Brien (pictured) with the locals at the Kokerelle B&B.

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 4 Apr - the BiciSport group caught up with Rob Hadley & the Newcastle team for a 40k pedal along the Schelde River bike path outside Oudenaarde. Mike O'Brien (pictured) with the locals at the Kokerelle B&B.

  BiciSport in Flanders @ 5 Apr - a visit to the wet & greasy Arenberg Forest cobbles near Wallers where just walking was at times difficult. Mike O'Brien, Mike Lawson & Mike O'Reilly

BiciSport in Flanders @ 5 Apr - a visit to the wet & greasy Arenberg Forest cobbles near Wallers where just walking was at times difficult. Mike O'Brien, Mike Lawson & Mike O'Reilly

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 5 Apr - just after the Arenberg Forest its the famous and disused Pont Gibus railway bridge in memory of Gilbert Duclos Lasalle winning the Paris Roubaix classic in 1992 & 1993. Mike Lawson leads Mike O'Brien

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 5 Apr - just after the Arenberg Forest its the famous and disused Pont Gibus railway bridge in memory of Gilbert Duclos Lasalle winning the Paris Roubaix classic in 1992 & 1993. Mike Lawson leads Mike O'Brien

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 5 Apr - Roubaix cobbles with Mike Lawson leading Mike O'Brien

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 5 Apr - Roubaix cobbles with Mike Lawson leading Mike O'Brien

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 5 Apr - the Bersee cobbles were typical Roubaix at rough & difficult

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 5 Apr - the Bersee cobbles were typical Roubaix at rough & difficult

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 5 Apr - cold, wet & muddy conditions for the BiciSport recce ride

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 5 Apr - cold, wet & muddy conditions for the BiciSport recce ride

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 7 Apr - the closing training ride near Antwerp with Mike Lawson, Eddy VerHulst, Mike O'Reilly, Mike O'Brien & Maarten Verhulst

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 7 Apr - the closing training ride near Antwerp with Mike Lawson, Eddy VerHulst, Mike O'Reilly, Mike O'Brien & Maarten Verhulst

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 7 Apr - a week after the professional Tour of Flanders the Under 23 version hits the Eikenberg cobbles. This U23 event is for National Teams only.

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 7 Apr - a week after the professional Tour of Flanders the Under 23 version hits the Eikenberg cobbles. This U23 event is for National Teams only.

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 8 Apr - Paris Roubaix start line with the one the only.  Photo MO'R

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 8 Apr - Paris Roubaix start line with the one the only. Photo MO'R

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ Apr - on the Paris Roubaix start line at Compiegne.  Photo MO'R

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ Apr - on the Paris Roubaix start line at Compiegne. Photo MO'R

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 8 Apr - After the Compiegne start it was a 90 minute drive to the village of Quivey near Cambrai at cobbled zones #25 & #27. The Roubaix Classic doubled back on itself at Quivey and spectators saw the action four times.  Photo MO'R  

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 8 Apr - After the Compiegne start it was a 90 minute drive to the village of Quivey near Cambrai at cobbled zones #25 & #27. The Roubaix Classic doubled back on itself at Quivey and spectators saw the action four times. Photo MO'R  

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 8 Apr - the action at the Quivey cobbles.  Photo MO'R

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 8 Apr - the action at the Quivey cobbles. Photo MO'R

  BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 8 Apr - Peter Sagan on the Quivey cobbles.  Photo MO'R

BiciSport in Flanders 18 @ 8 Apr - Peter Sagan on the Quivey cobbles. Photo MO'R