Ludovic Cappelle (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) will be in action today (Wednesday) to defend his title in the 60th Dwars door Vlaanderen, a Belgian semi-classic that starts in Kortrijk and finishes in Waregem in West Flanders. Capelle, who beat Jaan Kirsipuu and Roger Hammond when he attacked with 2 km to go in last year's race, doesn't consider himself a big favourite for today.
"I'm still struggling with a too big a break from racing," he told Sportwereld.be. "The winter weather and a crash in the Classic Haribo has really messed up my preparation. With just the Etoile de Bessèges and a handful of one day races in the legs, you can't count yourself among the favourites. Today I'll wait until after the Oude Kwaremont, then I'll feel the legs, or if it's a bit too fast, I doubt that it will be positive. If I realise that it won't be my day, I'll offer myself to someone else within the team. I think Ludo Dierckxsens is our man in form. For myself, I hope to be in good condition by the end of the KBC Driedaagse van De Panne-Koksijde, so that I can try to get a nice win in one of the following races, as I did two years ago."
Besides Capelle, other notable starters include Steven De Jongh (Rabobank), Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), Peter Van Petegem (Davitamon-Lotto), Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel), Nico Eeckhout (Chocolade Jacques), Lars Michaelsen (CSC) and Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile). It is not part of the ProTour, and there are only nine ProTour teams of the 24 teams at the start.
The race starts in the Markt in Kortrijk at 11:45, then travels northeast before heading through Waregem for the first time after 51 km, then the usual loop through the Vlaamse Ardennen. The climbs are the Kattenberg, Berendries, Valkenberg, Knokteberg, Oude Kwaremont, Kalkhoveberg, Paterberg, Tiegemberg, Nokereberg and Holstraat (twice). The race finishes with two laps of a 15 km circuit in Waregem.