The double header of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne signals the start of the cobbled Classics. Over the next seven weeks we can expect a veritable feast of the pavé, culminating with the third monument of the year, Paris-Roubaix.
This weekend, most riders will compete in both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne but the parcours generally dictate that it will be very different riders who come up trumps.
Ian Stannard won last year’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after getting the better of a trio of Etixx-QuickStep riders. The Belgian team, however, were the ones smiling the following day in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne when Mark Cavendish beat Alexander Kristoff in a sprint to the line.
Neither will be back to defend their titles but there is still a strong line-up for the opening cobbles weekend, including world champion Peter Sagan. Tom Boonen, a three-time winner of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, will also be in attendance.
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