The Classics season continues!
Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Field, follows on from an exciting weekend of racing after yesterday’s brilliant E3
One of the biggest talking points was the crash of Peter Sagan. The race was peppered with crashes and abandonments, so there will be some aching bodies taking the startline of Flanders fields. Could this benefit the more refresher rider willing to attack the peloton.
E3 was contested between three Belgians for the win, with GVA, Gilbert and Naesen, all powering away from the bunch. It always makes me laugh at E3 watching the final key moments of the race unfold on a Belgian housing estate. GVA provided to be too strong for his fellow Belgians. With Naesen launching a very early sprint, GVA had to dig deep to just pip Phillipe Gilbert on the line.
Much of the same today. With a good chance of a select group a reduced sprint.
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Peter Sagan 🇸🇰 (Bora – Hansgrohe)
Despite the crash at E3, it would be foolish not to earmark Sagan for this race. His crash did not leave him in pain he got back on his bike (after taking a wheel) to eventually finish. Bora are so invested in the World champ that there wasn’t really a plan B. In the race Sagan will Ben racing alongside Sam Bennett so there is a possibility on Bora racing a more tactile race. Eventually though I think if any thing the crash yesterday would only increase Sagan’s chances and drive to take victory later on today.
ONES TO WATCH
Greg Van Avermaet 🇧🇪 (BMC Racing Team)
I predict a close second for last years winner. GVA is the only man who can realistically challenge Sagan. He showed his power and quality at E3 beating to very good riders. The Olympic gold medalist is in fine form and should be up there to challenge later on today.
Tom Boonen 🇧🇪 (Quick-Step Floors)
Tom will be in fine form leading up to his retirement race at Paris-Roubaix. Could he earmark this race as key race to develop his sharpness for the velodrome at Roubaix? His main aim is Roubaix so I think we will see his early season form in preparation. He needs to get into some winning moves to prepare to face of against GVA Andy Sagan. Although probably still not strong enough to topple the pair in my opinion.
John Degenkolb 🇩🇪 (Trek Segafredo)
A former monument winner , Degenkolb has seemingly come back from the shocking injuries he received in 2016 at the hands of a British tourist. He has been showing some form form of late and he could find myself in a winning move or leave his chances for a final sprint. If he is to win you will probably not hear of him for the full race on eurosports coverafe until he burst into life in the finally minutes. His Trek team also harbours Jasper Stuyven, who is more than capable of winning this race also.
Luke Rowe 🇬🇧 (Team Sky) The welshman has shown some very impressive early season form with Team Sky. His stage at the Herald Sun Tour was a big show of intent. Team Sky will be in the mix towards the end, and Rowe could be just the candidate. Oliver Naesen 🇧🇪 (AG2R La Mondiale) A little bit of an outsider this he begging of the year, I think the world of cycling now fully knows the Belgian, his element of surprise is gone but he still will be up there with the best of them ! Finally there is Lars Boom 🇳🇱 (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) The former cyclo-cross world champion could not be happier in the rain and mud. He will be forever remembered for his stage in appalling conditions at the Tour in 2014. His only change of victory is to get to the finish line without the company of a faster rider, with will require a well timed solo attack.
MY FANTASY TEAM (The Classics)
It’s quite rare I can accommodate most of my selections within my fantasy team (only Boon missing out) So it was great to see the seemingly low valuations of Rowe, Naesen and Terpstra (all of which are under 10). Making my selection easy with the big valued riders of Degenkolb, Sagan and GVA taking up the majority of the budget. I also have Vanmarcke to round of my team at 17.6. Within this team I have lots of riders who will be in contention for a lot of the classics. The competition is raced as a overall classics campaign, rather than one of races. The races covered by the competition are Omloop, Strade Bianchi, Milano-Sanremo, Dwars Door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race, La Fleche Wallone, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Frankfurt. You are given a team of 8 riders and can make 50 transfers throughout the twelve “stages”.
Join the competition at fantasy.road.cc
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