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Scheldeprijs: start line gallery

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Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) before the start of Scheldeprijs.

Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) before the start of Scheldeprijs.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Saxo Bank-SunGard lead the peloton in the streets of Antwerp.

Saxo Bank-SunGard lead the peloton in the streets of Antwerp.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Manuel Quinziato (BMC) is looking to maintain his form for Paris-Roubaix.

Manuel Quinziato (BMC) is looking to maintain his form for Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Alexander Kristoff is part of a strong BMC team.

Alexander Kristoff is part of a strong BMC team.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) is a potential winner.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) is a potential winner.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Belgian champion Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) in Antwerp.

Belgian champion Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) in Antwerp.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Omega Pharma-Lotto ride to the start in Antwerp.

Omega Pharma-Lotto ride to the start in Antwerp.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Ben King and RadioShack go to the start.

Ben King and RadioShack go to the start.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Stuart O'Grady (Leopard Trek) has been Fabian Cancellara's strongest lieutenant in 2011.

Stuart O'Grady (Leopard Trek) has been Fabian Cancellara's strongest lieutenant in 2011.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) would like a win close to his Belgian home.

Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) would like a win close to his Belgian home.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Mark Cavendish and HTC-Highroad rider to sign on.

Mark Cavendish and HTC-Highroad rider to sign on.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad) will be a key rider on the road to Schoten.

Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad) will be a key rider on the road to Schoten.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Garmin-Cervelo are desperate for a big win this spring.

Garmin-Cervelo are desperate for a big win this spring.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) is the defending champion.

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) is the defending champion.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) rides to the start.

Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) rides to the start.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) is using Scheldeprijs to keep things ticking over between Flanders and Roubaix.

Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) is using Scheldeprijs to keep things ticking over between Flanders and Roubaix.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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George Hincapie (BMC) ahead of Scheldeprijs.

George Hincapie (BMC) ahead of Scheldeprijs.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Allan Peiper congratulates George Hincapie (BMC) on his showing in Sunday's Tour of Flanders.

Allan Peiper congratulates George Hincapie (BMC) on his showing in Sunday's Tour of Flanders.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) lines up for Scheldeprijs.

Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) lines up for Scheldeprijs.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) shares a joke before the start.

Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) shares a joke before the start.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) will be in the mix today.

Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) will be in the mix today.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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FDJ ride to sign on.

FDJ ride to sign on.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Thor Hushovd's distinctive bike.

Thor Hushovd's distinctive bike.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) is recovered from his Gent-Wevelgem crash.

Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) is recovered from his Gent-Wevelgem crash.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Fans can mingle with the riders ahead of Scheldeprijs.

Fans can mingle with the riders ahead of Scheldeprijs.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Rafa Chtioui (Acqua & Sapone) is looking to deliver on his considerable potential.

Rafa Chtioui (Acqua & Sapone) is looking to deliver on his considerable potential.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Romain Matheou (Saur-Sojasun) makes a last-minute adjustment.

Romain Matheou (Saur-Sojasun) makes a last-minute adjustment.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Waiting for Boonen: the Quick Step bus is always thronged at races in Belgium.

Waiting for Boonen: the Quick Step bus is always thronged at races in Belgium.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) will be hoping it all comes down to a sprint.

Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) will be hoping it all comes down to a sprint.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Frederic Guesdon (FDJ) fine-tunes his Paris-Roubaix preparation at Scheldeprijs.

Frederic Guesdon (FDJ) fine-tunes his Paris-Roubaix preparation at Scheldeprijs.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Steve Chainel (FDJ) is testing his Paris-Roubaix equipment at Scheldeprijs.

Steve Chainel (FDJ) is testing his Paris-Roubaix equipment at Scheldeprijs.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Lloyd Mondory at Gent-Wevelgem apart, Ag2r-La Mondiale have had a low-key Belgian campaign.

Lloyd Mondory at Gent-Wevelgem apart, Ag2r-La Mondiale have had a low-key Belgian campaign.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Bjorn Leukemans fans at the start in Antwerp.

Bjorn Leukemans fans at the start in Antwerp.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) could be to the fore in Scheldeprijs.

Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) could be to the fore in Scheldeprijs.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Leigh Howard (HTC-Highroad) will be riding for Mark Cavendish.

Leigh Howard (HTC-Highroad) will be riding for Mark Cavendish.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)

Clear blue skies and pleasant sunshine greeted the peloton as it gathered in Antwerp for the start of Scheldeprijs. With no hills on the course and little wind to disturb the riders as they headed east towards the Dutch border, the odds were on a bunch sprint back in Schoten this afternoon.

As expected, there was no shortage of fast men on the start line. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) was in typically determined mood as he rode to sign on, but the Manxman will face stiff opposition as he bids to take his second win of the season. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) is the defending champion, and he will be marshalled by Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler in the finale.

Other sprinters who should be in the mix include the experienced Robbie McEwen (RadioShack), Juan José Haedo (Saxo Bank-SunGard), Theo Bos (Rabobank) and the promising Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha), who was an impressive stage winner in De Panne last week.

Edvald Boasson Hagen heads up a strong Sky line-up that can also rely on Chris Sutton and Juan Antonio Flecha for firepower. Tom Boonen is one of four potential sprint winners in the Quick Step roster, and he may well be on the hunt for a morale-boosting win after his 4th place finish in the Tour of Flanders.

For some riders, however, Scheldeprijs is primarily about keeping their form ticking over ahead of Paris-Roubaix, and to that end Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) was also at the start in Antwerp. The Swiss rider is in confident mood ahead of the weekend, and he will enjoy his final tune-up on the flat 200km course to Schoten.