Lions of Flanders.

Lion of Flanders X 3 (1949-1951).
Fiorenzo Magni upsetting the Belgian's at the Ronde.
From: Cycling's Golden Age.

Will it be third time lucky for Belgium hopefuls, Tom Boonen & Stijn Devolder? Time is counting down to tomorrow's monumental 94th Ronde van Vlaanderen. The Belgian fans would love to see a fellow countryman win another one.  Belgian riders have the  record of distinction with  66 wins.

Tom Boonen is in tremendous form with a second in the Milan Sanremo & the E3 Prijs. Is it time for Torpedo Tom to make a third quick step up to the top of the Flemish podium? He'll have to fight his way through the pavé because there's others craving for the same result. His teammate, Stijn Devolder looks towards his third victory and one of them could become part of illustrious company.

The three  times winner club comprises of four toughmen. Three Belgians; Achiel Buysse, Eric Leman and Johan Museeuw & Italian Fiorenzo Magni.

Magni was the only rider to win it three times in succession (1949-1951). The Colossus of Monza was smooth over the pavé  who turned out to be a respected classics rider embraced  by the Belgian fans. A Lion of Flanders.

This Easter Sunday's classic  will be eagerly followed by the ever faithful, and yours truly. It starts in Bruges. But it is at the Muur-Kapelmuur where I believe the final selection of strongmen will decide who's who at the final stretch drive into Meerbeke. Will the rain fall? It would be a factor. Weeding out the hardmen over the lessers. Now, that Pozzato is out with the flu they'll  be one less favorite.

My hopefuls  for the  crown of Flanders are;  Juan Flecha, Thor Hushovd, George Hincapie  &  Allesandro Ballan. A certain  Belgian apple cart could be upset. It will be fun to watch!