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marychain1
31 Mar 18 11:48
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Date Joined: 05 Apr 05
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102nd Ronde van Vlaanderen - Tour des Flandres  (Antwerpen  ›  Oudenaarde 266.5k)

Previous Winners
2017 | GILBERT Philippe
2016 | SAGAN Peter
2015 | KRISTOFF Alexander
2014 | CANCELLARA Fabian
2013 | CANCELLARA Fabian
2012 | BOONEN Tom
2011 | NUYENS Nick
2010 | CANCELLARA Fabian
2009 | DEVOLDER Stijn
2008 | DEVOLDER Stijn
[img]https://community.cdnbf.net/community.betfair.com/user/marychain1/c50eb57841062bdf6ee4f529b13fe5a6.jpg?v=239400[/img
Top-10 previous edition
1.GILBERT Philippe
2.VAN AVERMAET Greg
3.TERPSTRA Niki,,
4.VAN BAARLE Dylan,,
5.KRISTOFF Alexander
6.MODOLO Sacha
7.DEGENKOLB John
8.POZZATO Filippo
9.CHAVANEL Sylvain
10.COLBRELLI Sonny

One of my favourite races in the calendar, I'm really looking forward to this. Sunday's 102nd Tour of Flanders, or the Ronde, is the second monument of the year, the biggest bike race in Belgium and one of the most important races of the year. The race is characterised by multiple small steep hills known as "Hellingen", many of which are cobbled and so steep that even professional riders can grind to a halt. At 267km long, this is an enormous test, and the weather can often play a part, with strong winds blowing the peloton to pieces and/or wet conditions making the cobbles perilous. The cobbled climbs stretch the peloton further. Only the strongest survive.

The 18 Hellingen are crammed into the final 150km. The race can be split into three distinct sections, firstly a 100+km first section from Antwerp to Oudenarde with no major climbs but that will get some serious miles into the legs. Then a 110km circuit starting and finishing in Oudenarde with several fierce climbs including the Muur van Geraadsbergen, Koppenberg, and ascents of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. Lastly, there is a 50km circuit starting and finishing in Oudenarde that has the last 6 climbs.

Contenders - The big 3
The three main form guides for this race are E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and Dwars Doors Vlaanderen, similar cobbled classics run over the last week or so, and previous editions give a good starting point to look at the guys that can make the selection. So let's have a look at the contenders.
Peter Sagan 3/1
The three-time World Champion is the closest thing we've had to Eddie Merckx. He can win solo, from a sprint or from a small group. He won this in 2016 and was probably looking the strongest from the group chasing Gilbert last year when a crash brought him down. He's in great form having just won Gent-Wevelgem for the third time.


Greg Van Avermaet 5/1
The 2016 Olympic Champion was once considered a perennial bridesmaid, but in 2017 he won Omloop, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix. He was also second in this race and with this race in mind this year he has tried to time his peak. He looked in good shape in Gent-Wevelgem and Dwars-Doors Vlaanderen so he should be right on the premises.

Phil Gilbert 6/1
Gilbert's palmares is phenomenal and his win last year from a 50km solo break was staggering. He is definitely one of the strongest men in the peloton and rides for the strongest team. Has said he is targeting Paris-Roubaix next week, and his team have several other potential winners in Stybar, Terpstra and Lampaert but a repeat here would be no surprise whatsoever.


Contenders - The Rest
Quickstep are the team with most options. They've been super-strong in all the classics this year and won most. As well as last year's winner Gilbert they have Stybar 22/1 who is always on the premises in these races, Terpstra 14/1, who has twice been on the podium here and has already won Le Samyn and E3 Harelbeke this year, and Yves Lampaert 44/1 who repeated his 2017 win of Dwars Doors Vlaanderen on Tuesday. In Tiesj Benoot 9/1 and Oli Naesen 20/1 there are two solid up-and-coming contenders who are just waiting for the chance to step up and taste the glory of their first monument. Benoot showed how fiercely strong he can be with a win at Strade Bianche and Oli Naesen was looking like he was mighty strong when taken out by Sagan's crash last year. Michal Kwiatowski 14/1 has been supplemented for this race late, and although he probably doesn't have the cobbles pedigree of some of his rivals he is a winning machine. Sep Vanmarkce 16/1 is one of the strongest on the cobbles and always makes the selection but never seems to win. Kristoff 30/1 and Trentin 33/1 are big dangers if there's a small group at the end. Wout Van Aert 40/1 continues to straddle the professional peloton and cyclocross but he's had a brilliant spring and is a dangerous dark horse. Vincenzo Nibali 44/1 is here as well, but as brilliant and talented a rider as he is, this is surely more about preparation for the Tour than as a serious contender. Lastly, strong men/sprinters Jasper Stuyven 50/1 and Edward Theuns 100/1 take the leadership of two teams with pedigree in these races so could be on the premises.

I can't wait. I keep changing my mind about who I think will win. The big 3 are slightly ahead of the rest, but who do you fancy? Whoever wins it should be a superb spectacle. Get your fridge full of Belgian beer, sit back and enjoy!
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Report Cauthenmeister March 31, 2018 1:08 PM BST
A bit of German beer too?
Report SwingingPick April 1, 2018 8:41 AM BST
Lovely thread, MC. If I had known you’d be back I would have scheduled some time for mounting some proper arguments to supplement your work, however I have not been much engaged due to other commitments, for instance I have only seen the odd race and a few highlight packages, so far this season.

Nevertheless, I have been looking at a few riders and there’s some that are lining up well for next week in Roubaix, but for here I cannot go past ** Sep Vanmarcke, I agree with you that he never wins but there’s a lot to like about his approach to racing this season, there’s been an obvious shift in attitude which has been slow in developing, and I think he can fully frank his promised dividend with a strong, confident ride for the win, finally. I am expecting a forward showing from him here, and I think he should go very close. Have also included 1/16* Roelandts at some big prices for a few coins, in case he decides to surprise with a smokey showing.

I tipped Gilbert on this forum last year for the win, and whilst he is in form coming in again and I agree with you that he can get up again, there’s just no value. Sagan, what can you say, I think you’ve said it by comparing him to Merckx, and much has been written about him, and I think it’s obvious that I am a fan. The fact is that the previous argument surrounding that no one will work with him in a selection has been thorough repudiated by his strength to attack long and win solo. He is very short for the predicted slippery conditions and there’s a good handful of in-form riders to counter his boss-moves, though. GVA is too good to discount also, but his form is not there in terms of sharpness, from my limited observations, so I disagree with you most reluctantly.

Good luck to all.
Report marychain1 April 1, 2018 8:47 AM BST
SAGAN
Terpstra
Naesen
Valgren
Report marychain1 April 1, 2018 8:49 AM BST
Damn, not sure how a German ale sneaked in
Report marychain1 April 1, 2018 9:29 AM BST
Added Wallays 1000 and Jan-Willem Van Schip at 600 on the exchange
Report SwingingPick April 1, 2018 10:08 AM BST
Valgren looks an interesting pick from you MC, what did you think about his OHN win?

I think QST are going all-in for Gilbert in order to return the favour for Terpstra next week. I am therefore convinced that for Terpstra this might be a strong hit-out in terms of taking-up a workhorse role, however we have seen riders get into the race-winning breaks by closing down important moves in such a role and end up winning, so it's not beyond him on this occasion, and in fact a good tactical edge for QST, however he just looks like he is priming for Roubaix so am building a position on him in that race, instead. Additionally, an important move would require the involvement of a strong rider and can get caught a little flat in a sprint.
Report SwingingPick April 1, 2018 10:15 AM BST
As far as my choice of beer from that neck-of-the-woods goes -- I like that Ardennes beer with the halfling on the label, but it's pretty expensive here in Australia;-)
Report SwingingPick April 1, 2018 12:54 PM BST
MC, Naesen has brought a knee injury into this race, suffered in DDV last start.
Vanmarcke was down twice already, but he looks okay in the peloton to me.
Report marychain1 April 1, 2018 1:04 PM BST
I knew about Naesen but he showed some of his strava segments from his training rides over the last two days and the watts he was putting out were phenomenal which told me he was over his knee. Don't like the way he's been back at the car though...
Report SwingingPick April 1, 2018 2:20 PM BST
Sagan is in an armchair so far, this 3/1 will be shorter if he remains on his bike, he’s cruising...
Benoot over-raced a bit on the Muur, but he looks on good sensations, so 13/1 into 7/1 is a likely move.
Report marychain1 April 1, 2018 3:04 PM BST
Carnage on the Koppenberg.
Report SwingingPick April 1, 2018 4:36 PM BST
April Fools Day on me by the QST team, but at least Terpstra has shortened in the Roubaix market. Looked like it was a QST "road call" in terms of who was feeling the stronger on the road between Gilbert and Terpstra, and Terpstra reached-out in very fine fashion. Gilbert tried his strength earlier and was unconvincing, but Terpstra was seen more often throughout and he was better on the hellingen than I have ever seen him, so he has certainly improved on this way of going. Nice defence by QST, and Gilbert to get third was substantial for them. Pederson is a talent, the Danish program is working...

It was an entertaining race, another solo winner so you have to love that, and it was winding up throughout the day nicely.

Well done MC on tipping Terpstra, hopefully I didn't turn anyone off in any significant way. Think he is a top pick for Roubaix, now.
Report marychain1 April 1, 2018 5:43 PM BST
All in on Gilbert for Paris-Roubaix
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