Question What about a fantasy cycling season

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(Libertine, I've simply taken your route, I very much hope you're okay with that!)
Why wouldn't I be? The entire point of the Race Design Thread is fictional races, or races we'd like to see. Seeing as there are no races to see at the moment, this is just taking races we'd like to see one step further. There's an entire compendium of prospective routes in there from dozens of posters.
 
Welcome to this imaginary edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. The 267 km race from Antwerp to Oudenaarde has just started. The riders will climb seventeen Flemish hills, including three times the Oude Kwaremont and twice the Paterberg. The weather is as usual during this year: dry, sunny, not windy, not a cloud in the sky. Among the participants are the five most recent winners: Kristoff, Sagan, Gilbert, Terpstra and Bettiol. Will one of them do it again or will we get a new winner? During the next six hours there will be regular updates of the race situation.
 
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Welcome to this imaginary edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. The 267 km race from Antwerp to Oudenaarde has just started. The riders will climb seventeen Flemish hills, including three times the Oude Kwaremont and twice the Paterberg. The weather is as usual during this year: dry, sunny, not windy, not a cloud in the sky. Among the participants are the five most recent winners: Kristoff, Sagan, Gilbert, Terpstra and Bettiol. Will one of them do it again or will we get a new winner? During the next six hours there will be regular updates of the race situation.
I heard Boonen showed up at Grote Markt all dressed up for racing, but without a bike.
 
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Not much has happened yet. The group is still au grand complet. It will be a sunny spring afternoon with a gentle southeast breeze. Absent is Milan-Sanremo winner Jan Barta, whose team didn't receive a wild card.
 
There's a lot of action in the front now. Edward Planckaert and Dylan Sunderland currently have a small gap, but there's reaction from others, The continental teams have clearly been instructed to get a man in the breakaway.
 
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With 200 km to go a group of six riders has a lead of fifteen seconds:

Dylan Sunderland (NTT)
Edward Planckaert (Sport Vlaanderen)
Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis)
Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct)
Stijn Vandenbergh (AG2R)
Xandro Meurisse (Circus-Wanty)
 
The six leaders have reached the first cobblestones of the Lippenhovestraat with an advantage of forty-three seconds. Leading the bunch are several helpers from Deceuninck - Quick-Step and Lotto - Soudal. They will soon take on the Paddestraat, where skillful bike handling is important.

 
Of the six leaders Stijn Vandenbergh is the most experienced on this terrain. In 2014 he finished fourth in Oudenaarde. The bunch doesn't seem worried about this. They're still on a relaxed Sunday stroll and allow the gap to grow to two and a half minutes.
 
Stijn Vandenbergh was the first to reach the top of the Oude Kwaremont, which will be climbed three times today. Over one hundred riders are still together in the bunch, where Iljo Keisse is controlling the pace.
 
Just before the Muur van Geraardsbergen there was a major crash in the middle of the bunch. World champion Pedersen has hit the ground. Van Avermaet asked for a new bike. Valverde and Kristoff were involved as well. Deceuninck - Quick-Step is leading the first part of the bunch on the Muur.
 
Held up by the crash were several big names, including two former winners: Terpstra and Kristoff. Van Avermaet has changed his bike and asked his teammates of CCC to lead the chase. Also in that group are Valverde, Roelandts, Pedersen and Degenkolb.
 
After the crash and a further split on the Muur the first part of the bunch contains only twenty-four riders. Six of them are from the Wolf Pack. Patrick Lefevere must have told them to not to wait. Tim Declercq is doing the hard work. Here are the names of the twenty-four riders in group 2:

Bob Jungels (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)
Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)
Tim Declercq (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)
Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)
Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)
Philippe Gilbert (Lotto - Soudal)
Tim Wellens (Lotto - Soudal)
Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto - Soudal)
Alberto Bettiol (Education First)
Sebastian Langeveld (Education First)
Sep Vanmarcke (Education First)
Marc Hirschi (Sunweb)
Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)
Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb)
Daniel Oss (Borat)
Peter Sagan (Borat)
Maarten Wynants (Jumbo - Visma)
Wout van Aert (Jumbo - Visma)
Jasper Stuyven (Trek - Segafredo)
Koen de Kort (Trek - Segafredo)
Dylan van Baarle (Ineos)
Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up)
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin - Fenix)
 
In the leading group Vandenbergh and Meurisse do most of the work, but their lead is diminishing. DQSt is leading the pursuing group, with Tim Declercq sacrificing himself completely. The third group is not coming closer, in spite of the work of CCC and UAE. With 90 km to go this is the situation:

*Leading group of six
*Group of twenty-four riders at 3’48”
*Group led by CCC and UAE at 4’32”
 
In his usual robust styleTim Declercq is bringing the second group closer, only thinking of the team and never of himself. The third group doesn’t have enough fresh helpers to make up a lot of time. With 70 km of racing left this is the situation:

*Group of six (Vandenbergh, Meurisse…)
*Group of twenty-four (Declercq, Stybar, Alaphilippe, Gilbert, Bettiol, Sagan…) at 3’02”
*Group of twenty-seven (Van Avermaet, Valverde, Terpstra, Kristoff, Degenkolb…) at 4’11”
 
The race explodes on the hills. The second climb of the Kwaremont is too much for Planckaert and Sunderland. On the Paterberg Meurisse and Vanbilsen are in trouble too. Vandenbergh and Calmejane are still steamrolling. Some helpers are dropped from the pursuing groups.

 
On the Koppenberg Vandenbergh shows his tenacity, but Calmejane is still hanging on. Tim Declercq is still leading the chase with a grin on his face. Here's an overview of the situation 45 km before the finish:

*Vandenbergh, Calmejane
*Meurisse, Vanbilsen at 40”
*Planckaert, Sunderland at 1’25”
*Declercq, Stybar, Alaphilippe, Asgreen, Jungels, Lampaert, Gilbert, Wellens, Bettiol, Langeveld, Vanmarcke, Kragh Andersen, Benoot, Sagan, Oss, Stuyven, Van Aert, Politt, Van Baarle, Van der Poel at 2’16”
*Van der Sande, Hirschi, Wynants, De Kort at 2’51”
*Group of nineteen (Van Avermaet, Terpstra, Degenkolb, Kristoff, Valverde, Roelandts, Pedersen…) at 3’52”
 

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