Part 1: Dwars Door Vlaanderen | In the first of our five-part Friends of the Podcast Special, Lionel Birnie disembarks from his floating hotel in Kortrijk to ride to Roeselare and the start of the Dwars Door Vlaanderen, one of the most recent additions to the UCI World Tour calendar.

The region is passionate about cycling and this is the first in a series of races that sees the passion build to fever pitch in time for the Tour of Flanders. But what are these smaller races like?

Lionel’s rainbow jersey-themed voyage of discovery takes him from Roeselare to Waregem in pursuit of the 72nd Dwars Door Vlaanderen. On the way, he learns more about Flandrian cycling from a man who has lived here for 40 years having moved from Australia to chase his professional racing dream and a former winner of the Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

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2016 Sign up to become a Friend of the Podcast for 2017 and you will be able to listen to 11 special episodes that Richard, Lionel and Daniel will record over the course of the season. Expect a mix of documentary-style shows, discussion, analysis and interviews about professional cycling. Sign up for 2017 now.