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Gallery: On the start line of the Tour of Flanders

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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) looks calm before the start

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) looks calm before the start
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Taylor Phinney (BMC)

Taylor Phinney (BMC)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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The riders wear their rain jackets as the rain falls in Bruges

The riders wear their rain jackets as the rain falls in Bruges
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Peter Sagan and Oscar Gatto

Peter Sagan and Oscar Gatto
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Imanol Erviti (Movistar) helps his teammate Jose Ivan Gutierrez with his radio

Imanol Erviti (Movistar) helps his teammate Jose Ivan Gutierrez with his radio
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE)

Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida)

Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Thor Hushovd (BMC)

Thor Hushovd (BMC)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling)

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano)

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) makes his way to sign on

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) makes his way to sign on
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp)

Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol)

Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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David Millar (Garmin-Sharp)

David Millar (Garmin-Sharp)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Luke Durbridge's race debut would be a short one

Luke Durbridge's race debut would be a short one
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka)

Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka)
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Bjarne Riis was at the start

Bjarne Riis was at the start
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Bradley Wiggins was a late addition to the Sky team

Bradley Wiggins was a late addition to the Sky team
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Sam Bennett prepares for his first Tour of Flanders

Sam Bennett prepares for his first Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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A fan dresses up

A fan dresses up
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Some John Degenkolb fans wait for their hero outside the Giant-Shimano bus

Some John Degenkolb fans wait for their hero outside the Giant-Shimano bus
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)

After almost two weeks of beautiful sunshine, the rain arrived for the start of the Tour of Flanders. No doubt there were a few smiles among the riders as the heavens opened but, for the inexperienced, trepidation may have been the overwhelming feeling.

Donning their rain jackets, the riders wound their way through the huge crowds that lined the road between the team buses and the presentation stage, negotiating the already slippery cobbles as they went.

All were greeted with claps and cheers, but the biggest were reserved for the Belgian Omega Pharma-QuickStep team. Led by home hero Tom Boonen, along with Niki Terpstra and Zdenek Stybar, the noise raised several decibels as they walked onto the stage. The team come to the race with a strong group of riders and are likely to dictate much of the race strategy.

There were plenty of other big names on show for the second monument of the year. Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) are two of the big favourites to take victory today. Earlier this week, Cancellara said that the pressure was on the Slovak to win. Milan-San Remo winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Gent-Wevelgem victor John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) are also on hand, and could be dangermen if the race comes back together on the run-in to Oudenaarde.

Click here for the start line gallery.