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Gent-Wevelgem: start line gallery

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World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) gets a warm reception from the Flemish fans.

World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) gets a warm reception from the Flemish fans.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) begins his cobbled campaign in Gent-Wevelgem.

Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) begins his cobbled campaign in Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is aiming to replicate his classics form of 2007 and 2008.

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is aiming to replicate his classics form of 2007 and 2008.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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The second coming. The hordes mass outside the Quick Step team bus, waiting for Tom Boonen.

The second coming. The hordes mass outside the Quick Step team bus, waiting for Tom Boonen.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) will work for Tyler Farrar.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) will work for Tyler Farrar.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Jeremy Hunt (Sky) is part of a strong Sky team.

Jeremy Hunt (Sky) is part of a strong Sky team.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Lars Boom and Rabobank will be to the fore.

Lars Boom and Rabobank will be to the fore.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) will be looking to the possible sprint finish.

André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) will be looking to the possible sprint finish.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Geraint Thomas (Sky) is in excellent form, as testified by his strong showing at Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.

Geraint Thomas (Sky) is in excellent form, as testified by his strong showing at Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) lines up as one of the favourites for Gent-Wevelgem.

Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) lines up as one of the favourites for Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Mark Renshaw is one of a three quality sprinters in HTC-Highroad’s line-up.

Mark Renshaw is one of a three quality sprinters in HTC-Highroad’s line-up.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-SunGard) hasn’t stopped smiling since his win in Dwars Door Vlaanderen midweek.

Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-SunGard) hasn’t stopped smiling since his win in Dwars Door Vlaanderen midweek.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) shoulders much of the home expectation this classics season.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) shoulders much of the home expectation this classics season.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale) is recovered from his team’s crash in the TTT at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali.

Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale) is recovered from his team’s crash in the TTT at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Frédéric Guesdon (FDJ) has a lot of experience on the cobbles.

Frédéric Guesdon (FDJ) has a lot of experience on the cobbles.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Danilo Hondo (Lampre-ISD) at the start in Deinze.

Danilo Hondo (Lampre-ISD) at the start in Deinze.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Sébastien Rosseler (RadioShack) is very motivated.

Sébastien Rosseler (RadioShack) is very motivated.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Movistar brought a young team to Gent-Wevelgem.

Movistar brought a young team to Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad) was the centre of attention at the start of Gent-Wevelgem.

Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad) was the centre of attention at the start of Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Danilo Hondo (Lampre-ISD) could well be in the mix.

Danilo Hondo (Lampre-ISD) could well be in the mix.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Kurt Asle Arvesen will call a lot of the shots for Sky on the road.

Kurt Asle Arvesen will call a lot of the shots for Sky on the road.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Greg Van Avermaet could well be BMC’s trump card in Gent-Wevelgem.

Greg Van Avermaet could well be BMC’s trump card in Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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George Hincapie is BMC's captain.

George Hincapie is BMC's captain.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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George Hincapie (BMC) won this race in 2001.

George Hincapie (BMC) won this race in 2001.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Ted King (Liquigas-Cannondale) rides to the start in Deinze.

Ted King (Liquigas-Cannondale) rides to the start in Deinze.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) pauses for a picture with some home fans in Deinze.

Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) pauses for a picture with some home fans in Deinze.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)

A mix of cobbled classics specialists and sprinters lined up in Deinze on Sunday for the start of Gent-Wevelgem. With 14 climbs, including two ascents of the Kemmelberg, the hard men will have plenty of scope to force the issue and break up the race, while the flat run-in to Wevelgem gives the sprinters’ teams a chance to bring it all back together for a thrilling finish.

Weather conditions at the start were overcast but quite still, although the peloton is sure to encounter some wind as it heads towards the coast in the middle section of the race.

Among the fast men to watch out for are HTC-Highroad’s trio of Mark Cavendish, Mark Renshaw and Matt Goss, Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo), Robbie McEwen (RadioShack), Danilo Hondo (Lampre-ISD) and André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC) will form an interesting Italian threat, while home hopes include Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-SunGard), Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

Boonen and Gilbert were heartily cheered to the start in Deinze this morning. With Fabian Cancellara not in the race and the Tour of Flanders just a week away, the Belgian duo will doubtless be looking to make a statement in response to his crushing victory at the E3 Prijs in Harelbeke on Saturday.