Blanco underdogs looking to upset favourites at Flanders

Team Blanco may have failed to feature a rider in the finale in last week's cobbled classics at E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem but the "underdogs" for Sunday's Tour of Flanders may just spoil the part for many of the favourites like Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), according to team director Nico Verhoeven.

"We've not played a meaningful role in the races running up to Flanders, but we are certainly in a position to pull off the upset", he said in team release.

In fact the team's biggest hopes for the second monument of the year is Lars Boom who's results at E3 and Harelbeke do little to ignite the punters interest. Boom failed to finish the opening cobbled race on Friday before pulling out a more respectable 23rd at Gent just days later.

Boom's result at Gent did not accurately reflect the former cyclo-cross world champion's condition. "He flatted at the deciding moment", said Verhoeven. "That was frustrating and because of that, it's not entirely certain how he stands in comparison to a Peter Sagan for example."

Maarten Tjallingii, Maarten Wynants and Sep Vanmarcke - who is still recovering from a knee injury sustained from a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico - were the squad's best placed riders at E3, rolling in with the bunch that finished over five minutes down on the day's winner Cancellara but they will have to seriously lift their game if they are to compete with the best in de Ronde.

Vanmarcke was one of the team's five riders who didn't complete the shortened Gent-Wevelgem with a question mark put on his form since his accident.

"Sep rode the race [Gent] but was not racing [to finish] and therefore without the proper preparation remains a question mark," said Verhoeven.

The remaining spots for Tour of Flanders will be filled by Jetse Bol (Ned), Jos van Emden (Ned), Rick Flens (Ned) and Robert Wagner (Ger).


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