By D'Arcy Price
The Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen (formally known as Grote Scheldeprijs Schoten), Flanders' oldest race (starting in 1907), is traditionally a sprinters contest, run over a dead flat parcours with a few cobbled sections thrown in for good measure. Its similar to, albeit less demanding, the mid-week ProTour race of Gent-Wevelgem, and is raced over a similar distance of roughly 200 km.
The race starts in Antwerp and continues on a 155km loop into the Flemish countryside before riders hit three 15km finishing circuits in the town of Schoten. The route includes seven cobbled sections, varying between 1300 and 3000 meters. The Gent-Weveglem/Scheldeprijs double has been done five times; Tom Boonen in 2004; Mario Cipollini in 1993; Rik Van Looy in 1957 and 1956 and Alberic Schotte in 1955.
The weather forecast for the race is for sunny and dry conditions, with temperatures ranging from 5-11 degrees Celsius and a moderately strong northwesterly wind blowing.
The Quick-Step team will look for some revenge after its slightly disappointing Paris-Roubaix, especially world champ Boonen. The Belgian superstar has 12 victories so far this season, and finished second in Roubaix after taking out his second successive victory in the Tour of Flanders. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner, Nick Nuyens, rode an excellent Milan-San Remo and was one of the key riders in Quick-Steps successful team plan in that race. Showing hes a vital team player he also helped Boonen to victory in Flanders, taking a respectable 17th place himself.
Cyclingnews will be covering the 94th Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen live from 14:30 CEST/08:30 EDT (USA east)/05:30 PDT (USA west)/22:30 AEST (Australia east).