For the Belgian team, the race “is one of the most important moments in the season,” according to Sports Director Wilfried Peeters. “We're lining up for the start with a team that's growing, built up around Boonen and with some individuals who could really make their mark.”
Some of the riders participated in this week's Three Days of De Panne. “For others, including Boonen, the choice was different: to concentrate on a few specific workouts before Sunday's race to fine tune his conditioning.”
Peeters is sending three riders to make their Tour of Flanders debut: Davide Malacarne, Andreas Stauff and Dries Devenyns. “All three of them really earned a place on this squad with solid, high-profile races. We're sure they can perform well and have a good race on Sunday as well."
Sunday's race, also known as “Vlaanderens mooiste”, is one of cycling's monuments. It runs 256.3km from Brugge to Ninove, and includes 18 climbs and 26 sections of pave.
Boonen previously won the race in 2005 and 2006. He finished second in it last year, 1:15 behind winner Fabian Cancellara, who will be the favourite again this year.
Quick Step for Tour of Flanders: Tom Boonen (Bel), Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), Dries Devenyns (Bel), Davide Malacarne (Ita), Andreas Stauff (Ger), Gert Steegmans (Bel), Niki Terpstra (Ned) and Kevin Van Impe (Bel).