Sven Nys will defend his national title on Sunday, and goes into the race in Ruddervoorde as an overwhelming favourite. The six-time Belgian champ is well aware of his status.
At a press conference in Anderlecht, Nys declared himself a favourite. "Based on previous races I have the best chance on paper," said Nys. "I'm fresher than at the same time last year. I am not concerned about what can go wrong, making me worry about my opponents' statements," he added.
"I will make the race hard," said Nys. "I will not stop the momentum and not wait until the last lap to force the outcome of the contest."
The 32-year-old also started some mind games of his own, especially in relation to young rival Niels Albert. Albert is a decade younger than his vastly experienced compatriot, and Nys took advantage of this.
"A tough race also favours Niels Albert. He can be my ally," said Nys. "I consider [Klaas] Vantornout, [Bart] Wellens and [Kevin] Pauwels as my main opponents. I wonder whether Albert is good enough for an hour level, although his rapid comeback surprised me.
"Albert and Klaas Vantornout would be a chance in the sprint, although that isn't so good for Kevin Pauwels, Bart Wellens and Sven Vanthourenhout."