If the peloton thought that the bad weather from Milan-San Remo was behind them, they were in for a shock on the start line of Dwars Door Vlaanderen in Roeselare on Wednesday morning. Snap cold temperatures and sleet greeted the peloton as they gathered on the start line for race that will kick-start the next three weeks of cobbled classics in Belgium.
Dwars door Vlaanderen may lack the WorldTour status of its counterparts E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders but nonetheless it provides a key indicator of form. Although Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan have chosen the skip this year’s race, the field comprises of a number of Classics specialists.
Juan Antonio Flecha may be approaching the twilight of his career but the Spaniard was in confident mood ahead of the race, telling Cyclingnews that his form continued to improve in recent weeks. His former Sky teammates Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard were also in Roeselare with the pair looking to find their feet before Gent-Wevelgem and Flanders.
And while home favourites, Boonen, Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet abstained from racing (BMC did not enter the race) the partisan crowds still had the Stijn Devolder, Gert Steegmans, and the ever popular Nico Eeckhout to cheer.