The stars of the Tour of Flanders returned to action for the first time since the weekend, as they build up to Paris-Roubaix and the fans were out in force as they tried to catch a glimpse of their heroes.
Last weekend’s top three, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) were in hot demand at the start line. They won’t be hogging the limelight though as the sprinters go in search of victory.
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) were also in action at the weekend, and they could be potential winners today, although it will be a tough fight against the pure sprinters. Sagan is beginning to get restless as he continues to miss out on a much desired monument victory. Cannondale also have Elia Viviani as an option for the bunch sprint.
Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) has been the dominant force here for the past couple of years, with two consecutive victories. He will be looking to right the mistakes that saw him finish the Three Days of de Panne without a win. Omega Pharma-QuickStep showed up with a powerful line-up that was only missing Mark Cavendish, who continues to suffer with an illness. As ever, they’ve got a number of cards to play, but their support will be for Geert Steegmans.
Theo Bos (Belkin), Andrea Guardini (Astana) and Kenny van Hummel (Androni Giocattoli) will all be out to upset the apple cart and get one over on their more favoured rivals.