By Bjorn Haake
The 2008 Belgian National Championships will take place in Knokke-Heist, over a real classics distance of 254.6 kilometres. About a quarter of the course is located next to the ocean, meaning the biggest challenge will come from the ocean winds blowing across the course. This will especially make a difference considering the race's long distance.
The circuit is 13 kilometres long and runs in a counter-clock wise direction. The riders will have to race over rail road tracks twice per loop, and the bumpy crossings will add up after 19 laps.
There are long straights in the parcours and a strong team controlling things is likely to provide the victor.
Can Lotto Silence Quick Step?
The two big teams in Belgium are Quick Step and Silence-Lotto. Quick Step will try to defend the title, which it won via Stijn Devolder last year. Devolder may look for a bit of a confidence booster following his disastrous mountain time trial in the Tour de Suisse.
Quick Step's Tom Boonen and Gert Steegmans are the other big guns in the team. Kevin Seeldraeyers, Jurgen Vandewalle, Wouter Weylandt, Maarten Wijnants and Kevin Van Impe may also get a chance, depending on the race situation.
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