With Tom Boonen back to his winning ways, Belgian team Omega Pharma-QuickStep are on a roll. But with only a few days to go until the Tour of Flanders, Boonen's teammates Niki Terpstra and Sylvain Chavanel are also showing great form, having taken the win and second place at the Dwars Door Vlaanderen half-Classic last week. Chavanel, who finished second at the Tour of Flanders last year, is also looking forward to "Vlaanderen's Mooiste" next Sunday, even though all eyes will once again be on Boonen. The French champion has chosen to fine-tune his shape at the Three Days of De Panne this week, joined by Terpstra.
"It's a race that some riders neglect, but it's important when approaching the Tour of Flanders," Chavanel told L'Equipe as he came back to Belgium from his French home on Monday afternoon. "It's a fast race, there are some cobbles and a stage including some Belgian climbs - it's good to get back into the atmosphere before Sunday."
Omega Pharma-QuickStep are also sending Michal Kwiatkowski and Francesco Chicchi to the event. "As always, it's going to be a difficult race with tense stages and lots of athletes vying to stand out," explained directeur sportif Tom Steels.
"Already the first stage will cover a challenging route. The second stage with the Kemmel is suited for sprinters. Our men going for the classification, Kwiatkowski, Chavanel and Terpstra will have to stay out in front every day so they can play their cards in the final time trial (14.7km). The squad's recent performances have motivated our guys. They are all ready to give a good race."