On Sunday, the Flemish classics campaign will reach its climax in the Tour of Flanders (1.UWT, 03/04). Since 2017, the event connects Antwerp and Oudenaarde in 272 kilometer. The parcours of this 106th edition did not change much compared to previous editions and after the first 100 kilometer without obstacles the peloton has to cover eighteen climbs and seven cobble sections in the heart of the Flemish Ardennes.
From the Main Square in Antwerp, the riders will reach Oudenaarde after 110 kilometer via Haaltert, one of the “Villages of the Ronde” and residence of Aimé De Gendt. Once they have covered the cobbles of the Lippenhovestraat and the Paddestraat, they will start the difficulties in the Flemish Ardennes with the first of three passages on the Old Kwaremont halfway through the race. On their way to the second passage on the Kwaremont, they will encounter the Kortekeer, Achterberg, the cobbles of the Holleweg, Kerkgate and Jagerij, the Molenberg, Berendries, Berg Ten Houte and the Kanarieberg. The famous duo Old Kwaremont has to be covered afteer 215 kilometer of racing and is immediately followed by the Koppenberg and the Taaienberg. After the Kruisberg, the peloton will accomplish the duo Old Kwaremont-Paterberg a second time before tackling the final 13 kilometer towards the finish in Oudenaarde.
Just like in Milano-Sanremo, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will line up for the second Monument of the season with former winner Alexander Kristoff. The winner of the edition of 2015 escaped from a strong rider group with 30 kilometer to go and won a duel with Niki Terpstra. In addition to this success, the Norwegian rider also finished twice on the podium and four times in the top five.
Kristoff will receive the support of a very experienced team composed with Italian rider Andrea Pasqualon, 12th in Dwars door Vlaanderen and 14th in Ghent-Wevelgem, Frenchman Adrien Petit, who participates for the eighth time, Belgian riders Aimé De Gendt and Tom Devriendt, and Dutchmen Boy Van Poppel and Taco van der Hoorn. The selection is directed by Aike Visbeek, Steven De Neef and Hilaire Van der Schueren.