The keys to Flanders


The Lion of Flanders winning in 1998

Johan Museeuw knows a thing or two of the Tour of Flanders. He's won it three times and did a recon with Movistar and calls Wout van Aert the big favorite...

"He is the only favorite who has not yet shown any defects. The rest have shown cracks. We will see how big those cracks are on Sunday. 

Those men (Jumbo Visma team) are very focused and well prepared. Nathan Van Hooydonck has shown that he is very strong and, moreover, Wout van Aert can also make his plan without a team.

Mathieu van der Poel fell through in Dwars Door Vlaanderen on the Cote de Trieu, but that may have been a lot of entertainment. We played that kind of games a lot in my time: I was super strong at it. You then shake off the favorite role...

I would do it like Patrick Lefevere did with Deceuninck-Quick Step in Harelbeke: start from afar and isolate Van Aert and Van der Poel. But that must be done with several teams."

105th Ronde van Vlaanderen ME start list

105th Ronde van Vlaanderen WE start list

Darkhorse for victory: Peter Sagan recons

"So I am coming here with almost a grand tour behind me. We will see. This is going to be strange. For as long as I have raced Flanders it is like the world championships when it comes to the fans. They are just so intense here. It is even more intense than Paris-Roubaix because we finish on this circuit and it is just packed with fans. 

You can see them. They are pushing each other. They are screaming. It is crazy! So yeah it is very strange not to race with fans in Flanders.

There is going to be a real battle between Van Aert and van der Poel, but we are racing a lot of riders. The weather could also play a role. It has been really hot and now it is cold. Some riders handle big changes in weather better than others."

When asked of his own chances...

"I will try. But you know how it is. We will see!"
- Peter Sagan

Lions of Flanders of 1987: Sean Kelly (2nd) & Steve Bauer (4th).