Antwerp was bathed in sunshine as the riders lined up for the start of Scheldeprijs.
Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and André Greipel all opted not to ride this year but there was still a large turnout for the mid-week race. Four days before Paris-Roubaix, several of the contenders for Sunday’s race were on show for the crowds that lined the streets.
Recent Tour of Flanders victor Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was relaxed as he spoke to the media. The Norwegian has the form to take a historical Flanders, Scheldeprijs, Roubaix triple but says he won’t take any risks today ahead of his big goal. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was also present, the Slovakian looking to turn over his legs ahead of the weekend, but he too is a threat for victory.
Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) was a popular man with the crowds. The Belgian has recovered from the disappointment of Flanders and was optimistic about his chances at Roubaix.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) was also on fine form as he joked with his teammates next to the sign on stage, and at the MTN-Qhubeka bus, Matt Brammeier was handed some of the beer that he earned at the Tour of Flanders by winning the intermediate sprint.