The tradition starts tomorrow, the start of the Vlaamse Wielerweek (Flemish cycling week) with the 67th Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke (Mar 23), Ghent-Wevelgem (Mar 25), Three Days De Panne (Mar 27-29), into April; Ronde van Vlaanderen (Apr 1), Scheldeprijs (Apr 4), Paris-Roubaix (Apr 8) 7 Brabantse Pijl (Apr 11).
A staple in the diet for the classic lover of all things cobbles and Belgian racing. The fans will be in a frenzy and ready to cheer on their heroes with plenty of beer and frites.
I'll concentrate on Dwars door Vlaanderen, 201km, 13 Hellingen (hills), 3 Kasseien (cobble sections). Good race for a rider that can endure the kasseien (like that word) and climb.
If the weather runs afoul it will be extra dramatic, I can't think of anything more dangerous than a slippery kasseien.
I always like a dark horse to win and if (I wish) the weather turns ugly, the Pro Conti teams are always eager to prove they belong. I like the progress of sprinter, Guillaume Boivin of SpiderTech and his superb 2nd Ronde van Drenth & 4th Handzame Classic.
Sylvain Chavanel will look to better his 8th place in Paris-Nice, he won Dwars back in 2008. Flippo Pozzato on the Pro Conti Farnese Vini team and although he finished 5th in MSR he wants to get back as a classic winning specialist.
Time soon for a Chimay!