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How sweet it is! Fabian Cancellara revels in his Tour of Flanders victory on the podium.
Sagan, Cancellara and Boonen headline
Unlike in the last few seasons there doesn’t appear to be single lone favourite for this year’s Tour of Flanders. Defending champion Fabian Cancellara has shown flashes of his old self but is yet to win a race this year while Peter Sagan, his closest rival – according to the bookmakers at least – hasn’t quite matched the form he displayed in 2013.
With a modified route, uncertainly over the weather conditions, and no single stand out favourite, fans could be treated to one of the most exciting and closest editions of the race in recent years.
Tom Boonen may have had injury problems in the build-up to the race but the three-time winner cannot be ruled out. His Omega Pharma-QuickStep team have been in scintillating form all year and with Niki Terpstra in the form of his life, Patrick Lefevere certainly has more than one card to play during Sunday’s race.
The canny team boss surely won’t focus on Sagan and Cancellara alone as his team’s main rivals.
Sep Vanmarcke has steadily risen through the ranks and his 2014 performances suggest than a first Monument win could be just around the corner. A fast finish, a strong climber, he could be the next Belgian rider to take over the mantle left by Boonen in the future.
Another home-grown rider with a point to prove is Greg Van Avermaet. The BMC rider has finally been given the chance he’s dreamed of: sole leadership of a WorldTour team. He’ll be looking to repay the squad’s faith with at least a top-five finish.
They’re not the only riders to watch out for on Sunday’s race and Cyclingnews have picked out 10 riders you should keep an eye on.
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