The Tour of Flanders is one of the best cycling races to watch especially if you are new to cycling. It is on Sunday 12 till 4 on Eurosport on Sunday. What is so great about it is that it contains everything; cobbles, climbs, side winds and amazing crazy Belgium fans. There is no hiding place in the latter part of the race where the peloton splits completely and it is man versus man with the strongest and most tactically astute coming out on top. Below are 3 good previews of the race which pick some key men to look out for.
Calling this race can be a bit of a lottery as a piece of bad luck like a flat tire or a crash can easily ruin an individual’s chances completely. For me I feel that the big favourites; Cancellara, Flecha, Boonen and Gilbert, may miss out tomorrow as they will mark each other out of the race like has happened in the past two editions of the race. Therefore I am looking to possible outsiders who may get in an escape that will stick at around 40km to go. If Matti Breschel (12/1 Betfred) can get into this group then he will win, but will he be willing to attack or work for his team leader Cancellara? My choice for the win is Sylvain Chavanel (50/1 Bet 365). He has over taken Devolder as Quick Step second man for the race and that is no mean feat as Devolder has won this race in the last two races. He is not in that sort of form this year but I still expect to Quick Step to dominate the race and Chavanel could be their surprise weapon.
For my dark horses I would like to have gone for Maxim Iglinsky and Ballan but I am not. This is because I am not certain how Astana and BMC respectively are going to chose to be there protected riders in their team. But I feel both these teams should be well represented in the final stages. Instead I am going on Matt Hayman (250/1 Bet 365) and Stijn Vandenbergh (125/1 Bet 365). Hayman is a big gamble and I am probably just throwing money away but he is Team Sky’s number 2 man for the race and if something happens to Flecha then Hayman will have the support of the team. Furthermore Flecha could be marked out the race at the end and Hayman could be Team Sky’s wild card. Vandenbergh is a rider for Katusha who would have been a team mate for Pozzato before he dropped out but will now be a protected rider and Ivanov their leader is recovering from illness so I expect Vandenbergh to be Katusha’s main rider for the latter stages.
Also look out for the Vaconsoiel team who will want to prove something to the ASO after being left out of the Tour de France. I expect at some stage Hoogerland to be at the front of the race. Other than that just sit back and enjoy what will be a huge battle of a race.