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March 23, 2022
As we move into spring, we are excited to witness one of the most prestigious monument races in cycling. The Tour of Flanders or De Ronde van Vlaanderen is set to take place April 3rd, starting in Antwerp, Belgium, and finishing hundreds of km later through difficult climbing and cobblestone terrain in Oudenaarde. As the go-to destination for creatives and cyclists alike, appreciating the cultural impact of sport helps develop a love and understanding of how far its come. While it is difficult to pick a favorite race, we wanted to highlight the inspiration behind a few of our Tour of Flanders Tees.
As one of the most culturally significant races in the world of cycling, Ronde Van Vlaanderen is a unique race held in Belgium each year. While tourists often think of Belgium as the land of tasty waffles and chocolate, for native cyclists, it means something much greater. Especially For the Flemish people, the Tour of Flanders is an opportunity to manifest their passion and love for cycling and their country.
The Tour of Flanders started in 1913 at the hand of the co-founder of a flemish sports paper, Sportwereld. Common at the time, co-founder Léon van den Haute organized the race to promote publicity and readership of the newspaper.
At the time of its creation, cycling in Belgium was in a poor state. Accordingly, the Flemish felt it necessary to create a race entirely run on their soil to liberate their people and empower their cities. Through world wars, occupations, and terrain access issues, the Tour of Flanders emerged resolutely. A proper cultural festival and spectacle to behold. Now, undoubtedly due in part to the strong historical link between flemish cycling and nationalism, the race lives on. Even after a short pause during World War 1, its popularity continued to explode due to the intense riding conditions and punishing challenges.
Since then, ‘De Ronde' has made major adjustments to the route and spectator access. In 2012, a new race formula made it so fans gained access to more of the circuit, including a finish at Oudenaarde and other exciting climbs along the route.
As mentioned, the 2022 edition of both the men and women Tour of Flanders is set to commence Sunday, April 3rd. Both men and women will follow a succession of flat, hilly, and cobblestone terrain that spans the Flemish countryside. With steep cobblestone climbs and unpredictable weather, sections like the Koppenberg (600 meters of 22% poorly paved narrow road) will surely set the stage for some world-class riding. For the first time in history, the 158km 2022 edition of the Tour of Flanders Women's race will offer the same prize money purse as the men's race and also include the same iconic climb at Koppenberg.
Since the race's inception, Belgian riders have won a total of 69 times with only two individuals – Tom Boonen and Phillippe Gilbert – winning in the past decade for their host nation. While it’s always difficult to predict a champion, some favorites to watch on the men's side always include Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogačar, and Former winner Alberto Bettiol alongside their respective teams.
On the women's side, Annemiek van Vleuten is considered a heavy favorite, winning twice before and at the Olympics using her sharp ability to conquer steep climbs and hard terrain with ease. That said, teammate Emma Norsgaard and Jumbo-Visma riders Marianne Vos and Anna Henderson should put up a good fight. In any case, taking home a win at the Tour De Flanders doesn’t involve being the strongest rider, but requires a mix of tactical strategy, smarts, team support, and luck. We, like you, are excited to see it all unfold.
The Tour of Flanders is truly an Iconic race that has withstood the test of time. This year should be, like many before, a spectacle to behold. As the time approaches, don’t hide your excitement, wear it! Explore our Tour Collection, which includes the coveted Flanders t-shirt today.
April 12, 2022
April 01, 2022