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On the start line at the E3-prijs Vlaanderen

Barry Ryan
March 26, 2011, 11:44 GMT,
March 26, 2011, 12:38 GMT
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, March 26, 2011
E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke
Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) is always a popular figure in Flanders.

Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) is always a popular figure in Flanders.

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A photo gallery from the start in Harelbeke

After Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-SunGard) took the spoils in Waregem at the end of Dwars Door Vlaanderen mid-week, the classics men moved on the Harelbeke on Saturday for the E3-Prijs Vlaanderen.

While a smattering of riders and teams have opted to forgo the E3-Prijs to focus their energies on Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, there was still no shortage of big names on show in Harelbeke.

World champion Thor Hushovd has high hopes for the cobbled classics this season, and he was looking to lay down a significant marker at the E3-Prijs. With Heinrich Haussler alongside him, Garmin-Cervélo should have a significant say in matters here.

Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM), Nuyens, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Leif Hoste (Katusha), Yoann Offredo (FDJ) and Lars Boom (Rabobank) will also be up there and in contention. Quick Step has opted to rest Tom Boonen ahead of Gent-Wevelgem but the Belgian team has Niki Terpstra and Gerald Ciolek in their squad.

The man to beat will be last year’s winner Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek). In what will be his final outing before the Tour of Flanders, we can expect fireworks from the Swiss star as he tests his form. It’s not by chance that all of the start line bookies have him quoted as odds on favourite, as the peloton set out in mild and still conditions.

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