Last year's Tour of Flanders winner, Lizzie Deignan, is crossing her fingers for an aggressive race, stating that she and her Boels Dolmans team need a selective encounter in order for them to attain the best result.
Deignan, who won De Ronde while in the rainbow jersey last year, has had a slow start to this campaign, with illness affecting her. She has come into form in recent weeks, however, with third place in Strade Bianche and although her and Boels Dolmans have not enjoyed the same blistering start they had in 2016, the Dutch squad can never be written off.
"The more challenges there are in the race the better for me, whether that’s cobbles or climbs or a combination of both," Deignan said in a statement issued by her team.
"You always need to be prepared and know exactly what’s coming next in a race like Flanders, its not enough just to have strong legs. I expect the last 40km to be the defining section of the race. We will be ready to react at any point that close to the finish."
Deignan will be joined on the start line by Olympic champion Anna Van Der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Amy Pieters, Christine Majerus and world champion Amalie Dideriksen, who won the Ronde van Drenthe earlier this season.
"My ideal scenario would be that a Boels Dolmans rider wins, for that, we need a hard race," Diegnan said.
"I hope that the race is aggressive and therefore selective so that we have a numbers advantage in the final. It would be nice if we can dictate what happens and who wins."
While Boels Dolmans line up with a squad full of depth, they will not be only team to watch. Wiggle High5 have made the podium several times and come into the race with Annette Edmondson and former winner Elisa Longo Borghini. Canyon-SRAM, Orica-Scott and Ceverlo Bigla are among the other teams with realistic challengers, while Team Sunweb is also a threat with Lucinda Brand and Ellen Van Dijk in their ranks.
"Every rider on the start line is fierce competition," Deignan said.
"Flanders is the one that everyone wants to win, so everybody brings their best form to that race. Ellen is always one to watch too as she has won the race before, and when she's on form she can be dangerous."
Boels Dolmans for Tour of Flanders: Lizzie Deignan, Anna Van Der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Amy Pieters, Christine Majerus, Amalie Dideriksen
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