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Video: 10 riders to watch in E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem

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John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) came out on top in Milan-San Remo

John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) came out on top in Milan-San Remo
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan Tinkoff Saxo)

Peter Sagan Tinkoff Saxo)
(Image credit: Sadhbh O'Shea)
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Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) faces the press

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) faces the press
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)
(Image credit: Sadhbh O'Shea)
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British Mark Cavendish of team Ettix - Quick-Step celebrates after winning the 67th edition of the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

British Mark Cavendish of team Ettix - Quick-Step celebrates after winning the 67th edition of the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing).

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing).
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Lotto NL - Jumbo)

Sep Vanmarcke (Lotto NL - Jumbo)
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Ian Stannard (Team Sky) checks on Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step)

Ian Stannard (Team Sky) checks on Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis)

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

The E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem are both important races in their own right, but are also key in that they each provide a different kind of tune-up for the Queen of the Classics, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, or Tour of Flanders.

With 213km to cover, and 17 'hellingen', the E3 Harelbeke is more similar to the Tour of Flanders in that the clot of steep ascents comes closer to the finish and provides a more selective course. Gent-Wevelgem, by contrast, has 10 climbs, but at 238km in length it swings the balance in favour of the tougher sprinters.

Milan-San Remo winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Alepcin), winner of last year's Gent-Wevelgem, comes into the race with vastly different fortunes than the E3 Prijs defending champion Peter Sagan (Tinoff-Saxo), who has but one victory under his belt so far this season. Sagan will be on fighting form for both races, and eager to please team owner Oleg Tinkov and boost his confidence with a victory in one of the two races.

Cyclingnews picked out eight other riders to watch in our top 10 video. And, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to the Cyclingnews YouTube channel so you get all the videos first!