Dwars door Vlaanderen – A travers la Flandre 2024

After a few days of rest, it is time for Dwars door Vlaanderen. If there has been any changes to the route, they are minor. It is almost identical to the 2023 edition.


And this map is not easy to comprehend. Starting in Ardooie and riding south of Oudenaarde for the climbs and cobbles. Then, back to Warengem.


We got TV images last year from the first ascent of Knokteberg – Trieu. This is halfway through the race with 94 km left.

If you watched the 2023 edition, you’d see LIDL-Trek with a full front here causing small crashes in the back of the peloton before attacking over the top. They do the climb twice, with 94 km left and with 54 km left.

The next climb is Kortekeer. We saw a full front there from LIDL-Trek too back in 2023. You almost crash by riding so slow. Then again, over the top, the whole team attacked. This is with 86 km left.

Then, this is usually where the favorites start attacking. First the Berg-Ten-Houte (also known as the Tiesj Benoot climb). The first cobbled climb starting with 72 km left. The organizers like to put barriers in the side of the road here, yet all they do is increase crashes (Merlier had a nasty crash here in 2023). Stefan Küng attacked here in 2023.

Berg Ten Houte creates a selection. Last year it was quite large, also due to the crashes I’m fairly certain. Kanarieberg is just around the corner, usually we see a group of 6-12 riders afterwards. These are the riders who will hope to fend off the peloton for the race win. It starts 67 km out. We always see the positioning battle happen before the right-hand turn leading up the the climb.

Benoot, Laporte, Q. Hermans and Phillipsen were the four strongest last year, but that group didn’t get far as Küng closed the gap with De Lie, Ballerini and Madouas.

Everything got back together before the second ascent of Knokteberg-Trieu. Pidcock countered on the flat beforehand but it got shut down. It was stop-and-go, yet the breakaway still stayed 1’30 ahead of the group of favorites/main peloton. This time, it is 54 km out.

Benoot and Q. Hermans was once again the two strongest, with Benoot being in a class of his own. Powless wasn’t far off and after the top, this was the group fighting for the race win (excluding Lazkano + Kristoff, they were still out front in the breakaway).

Laporte, Benoot, Q. Hermans, Powless, Madouas, Küng, Narvaez and Honoré. Trentin almost closed the gap with an attack behind.

There is only Ladouze left. It comes after Marieborrestraat. 38 km left from the top. Then the chase behind begins.

Then the ride for home. A lot of flat cobble sections between Ladoueze and Warengem.


*Weather last updated 25th of March.

All I care about is the last half of the race. A tailwind on Knokteberg-Trieu and Kortekeer. A headwind on Berg-ten-Houte but a tailwind on Kanarieberg. Again, a tailwind on Knokteberg-Trieu and Hotond.

Here a more detailed view of the finale. It seems Berg-Ten-Houte may prove to be a difficult sector to attack with a strong cross-headwind. It looks more plausible the moves go on Kanarieberg.

How will the race unfold?

In trying to figure this out, I must remember to compare the impact of the weather. A tailwind is in the favour of the attackers. Just as we had the other day. I have no clue why I thought we would see a sprint, I guess I thought Mathieu van der Poel wouldn’t attack that early. Or Trek-Segafredo for that matter.

So, this should be between LIDL-Trek and Jumbo-Visma. However, let’s not write off FDJ just yet, I think their teams looks very good.

Let’s start with LIDL-Trek. I think we’ve seen their tactic. Collectivism. It has given them a 2nd place in E3 and a win in Gent-Wevelgem. Why change it? In 2023, they took the front Knokteberg-Trieu and Kortekeer and attacked over the top. If they do it again, I think they will get an insult or two headed their way. I don’t think they care, they race to win. They have to create splits as in 2023 and play their numbers. They’ve got something Visma-Lab doesn’t, four quick riders on the line.

Visma-LAB. No Laporte. No Dylan van Baarle. Still, they have four riders here who can match the four of LIDL-Trek. Wout van Aert is in fantastic sape, the same goes for Matteo Jorgensen. As I mentioned earlier, Tiesj Benoot absolutely loves this race. To be honest, he was the strongest rider on the climbs and cobbles last year. I think they will race by their own rules: If they don’t like the group – reel it in and set up an attack. And the second rule, if Wout van Aert his content with his chances – the group goes. As it is a short race tomorrow, they can shake things up a few times.

I think we will see the same scenario as the past two editions. An elite group goes clear after Berg-Ten-Houte and Kanarieberg. It will contest of 6-12 riders. The peloton often catch a few of them before the line.


Wout van Aert – so far, his worst result is 3rd place in three Belgian cobbled-classics. His teammate took a win in one of them, he won the second and he was 3rd in E3 despite crashing at the MOST crucial part of the race, on the Paterberg. He starts as the favorite but in a one-on-one I’m not certain he beats Mads Pedersen.

Matteo Jorgensen – the loyal helper. Had the wind been different in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, they wouldn’t have seen him again. Winner of Paris-Nice and fifth in E3 despite his work. I think he will do better on Sunday, as this race isn’t selective enough towards the finale. He will be flying over the climbs, making sure the selection happens on Berg-ten-Houte.

Tiesj Benoot – Benoot-ten-Houte. It is a certainty. Then he will hope a late attack sticks and had it not been for MvdP in 2022, he would have won here. He worked well for Kooij in the peloton the other day, but recent results are not optimal. I think he should work for Wout van Aert. A top-10.

Mads Pedersen – It is not a lot of people who can follow Mathieu van der Poel on Kemmelberg. Or try to attack him on Kemmelberg. He is clearly in the shape of his life, he wasn’t joking at Milano-San Remo. He will race to win, he doesn’t care for podiums. I think he has the confidence to beat Wout van Aert in the sprint, it makes the race a lot easier for his teammates.

Jasper Stuyven – I remember the fair at Worlds 2021 in Leuven. I used to live fairly close to an apartment building with a large picture of him (on a flag) was hung on the wall. I went past that building for nearly four months. Now, seeing him back to that 2021 makes me happy. A unlucky puncture set him out of the game in Gent-Wevelgem but it can be easily forgotten. With both a top-10 in Milano-SanRemo and E3, he should be among the very best tomorrow.

Jonathan Milan – Johnny! My oh my. I didn’t think he could do that. He is a secret weapon and I’ll tell you: He will beat Wout van Aert in a sprint tomorrow, if it comes down to it. The hardest part is making sure he will be in that select group. He also packs a fine motor if he fancies a solo attack. He must have, as holding off MvdP for 20 km the other day is no easy task.

Tim Wellens – should make the select group. It will be tough to win. A top-10.

Nils Politt – I like his chances better. I doubt we will see him give a lead-out to any rider tomorrow. 7th in E3 is a very good sign. It may be difficult to win but he can do a well-timed attack, just like in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Plus, he is not slow in a flat sprint.

Laurance Pithie – a very promising rider. The distance will make it easier for him to survive the harsh terrain. He is quick on the line but a few riders already mentioned are quicker.

Oier Lazkano – I hope he joins the morning breakaway. So far, it seems to be a very good strategy with a win in Clasica Jaen, 3rd in KBK and 14th in E3.

Who will win?

I think LIDL-Trek will take a mid-week win. I’m going for Jonathan Milan. He was impressive in Gent-Wevelgem. He is climbing well, sprinting well and has the diesel for a potential late move.

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