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Leopard Trek ride reconnaissance over Tour of Flanders course

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The climbs from yesterday's Dwars door Vlaanderen were marked on headsets

The climbs from yesterday's Dwars door Vlaanderen were marked on headsets
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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HTC-Highroad catch up with Leopard Trek out on the ride

HTC-Highroad catch up with Leopard Trek out on the ride
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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HTC-Highroad were out on the Flanders course

HTC-Highroad were out on the Flanders course
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Stuart O'Grady talks the team mechanics before the start of the training ride

Stuart O'Grady talks the team mechanics before the start of the training ride
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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The riders find time to talk about yesterday's race

The riders find time to talk about yesterday's race
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Torsten Schmidt organised the ride

Torsten Schmidt organised the ride
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Leopard-Trek out on a recovery ride

Leopard-Trek out on a recovery ride
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Everywhere the Leopard riders go the Belgian press aren't far behind

Everywhere the Leopard riders go the Belgian press aren't far behind
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Despite coming off yesterday Kleeme joined his teammates for a two hour spin in the sun

Despite coming off yesterday Kleeme joined his teammates for a two hour spin in the sun
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Stuart O'Grady leads the recovery ride towards the climbs

Stuart O'Grady leads the recovery ride towards the climbs
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highoad) arrived in Belgium ahead of this weekend's racing

Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highoad) arrived in Belgium ahead of this weekend's racing
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Fabian Cancellara was the last rider off the bus, still tired after his busy schedule

Fabian Cancellara was the last rider off the bus, still tired after his busy schedule
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek)

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek)
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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The Leopard Trek team bus

The Leopard Trek team bus
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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A team mechanic files down part of the bars

A team mechanic files down part of the bars
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Fabian Cancellara checks out his bike

Fabian Cancellara checks out his bike
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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All the locals were out in force to support the team

All the locals were out in force to support the team
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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The Trek bikes outside the team bus

The Trek bikes outside the team bus
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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O''Grady sets off on his ride

O''Grady sets off on his ride
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Dominic Klemme (Leopard Trek)

Dominic Klemme (Leopard Trek)
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) will head into Flanders as the defending champion

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) will head into Flanders as the defending champion
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)

The Tour of Flanders might be over a week away with many an important race between now and then but that didn’t stop the Leopard Trek team from riding reconnaissance over the route on Thursday.

The team, led by last year’s winner Fabian Cancellara, used their recovery ride after yesterday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen to ride 70 kilometres of the most crucial sections of climbs and cobbles.

Basing themselves in Marke, just outside of Kortrijk, Belgium for the cobbled Classics, the team took a short bus ride to the Kruisberg before mounting up and enjoying the two and a half hour spin in the sunshine.

“We’ll do between 60 or 70 kilometres, the central part of the Tour of Flanders,” said the team’s director Torsten Schmidt.

“We do this every year so they get the pictures back in their heads. It’s all for Flanders.”

“It’s a big goal, for every team, but especially if you have the defending champion in your squad. It’s always good to use the time here in Belgium to do things like this.”

Before reaching Flanders though, Leopard Trek will compete in both of this weekend’s races, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. Cancellara won the former last year after breaking away with Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) and dropping the pair before the finish.

“We have two more races this weekend and then the whole of next week,” said Schmidt.

“I’m confident that we have other cards to play in the race and the guys are loyal to each other so we can fulfil a number of situations with other riders in the team.”

In all likelihood Cancellara will be supported by the majority of the team on show in Belgium, with Dominic Klemme, Joost Posthuma, Stuart O’Grady and Wouter Weylandt forming the core of the team for Flanders.

“It’s too early to talk about tactics for Flanders because so many things can happen between now and the race, which is still several days away. It’s not a secret if you have Cancellara, you know he will try something, but there are many different circumstances that can crop up in the race. Today is just about going very easy after yesterday’s race.”