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Belgian Classics – Great Weekend Ahead!

Another big weekend in Flanders – the Belgian Classics come thick and fast now! After Het Volk and that epic from KBK a few weeks back we had Dwars in the week and two more semi-classics coming this weekend.

On Saturday we have E3 and then a revamped Gent Wevelgem moved to the Sunday rather than the mid-week slot it has had for the last few years. Next year it is meant to get back the extra distance that got cut when it became a Wednesday race and become a full classic again.

It’s all building up to the two biggest cobbled classics of the year the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris Roubaix. These two races are really the World Championships for the Northern Classics riders.

E3 is like a mini Tour of Flanders, shorter, but covering a lot of the same roads and cobbled bergs. Expect attacks as all the specialists are coming into form now, last year Pozzato beat Boonen from a small breakaway.

So who is fit and healthy?

Tom Boonen has looked strong all spring and has a great record at E3, with three previous wins, plus more from Quick Step team mates. Fabian Cancellara also looks like he is coming into form for his big targets in a few weeks. Both these guys have strong team mates and Quick Step and Saxo always do well in these races.

Thor Hushovd will be backed by a strong Cervelo team and also has a good record here; he won Gent a couple of years back.

Sky will have Juan-Antonio Flecha and Edvald Boasson-Hagen. Flecha is always near the front on these cobbled races and looks like he is riding better than ever and hopefully EBH has recovered from Milan – San Remo.

Gent Wevelgem usually ends in a bunch sprint, albeit a small bunch! Any one looking to get away will usually go on the second climb of the Kemmelberg. This is how Boasson-Hagen won last year, but normally these breaks are pulled back on the windy exposed run in to the finish.

The descent is often more decisive than the climb if it’s raining (in Belgium?)!

Should be a great weekend, expect anything! Freezing rain, gale force winds, attacks, crashes – it’s Flanders!

Want more on the Belgian Classics? Take a look at Whit Yost’s great blog PavePavePave and thanks to Pez for the link!

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