Here we are. Exactly one week before we know who is the new ruler of Flanders, the tour of Flanders.
Rather than writing how great or boring a race was, here's my prediction for "De Ronde Van Vlaanderen". In this year's classic races we've seen a little bit of everything. The big guns are ready: Sagan, Cancellara, Boonen, Vanmarcke, Van Avermaet. Their lieutenants are in form as well: Terpstra, Stybar, Devolder to name a few. However, one guy sticks out above them. He is the clear favorite: Fabian Cancellara.
"He's too strong. He's just too strong", Wilfried Peeters stated in 2011 when Fabian took off with more than 60 kilometers to go. Ultimately he did not win that year due to lack of food and fluids, a mistake he won't make twice. He was also very strong in 2012, but unfortunately had to abandon the race with a broken collarbone. And of course, he won in 2013.
How could he be beaten? Barring any crashes or mechanical defects, there are few scenarios in which other mice can steal the cheese.
- When the race is decided in a sprint with Sagan and Boonen. This is an unlikely scenario as I doubt either of them will be able to stay with Cancellara when he turns on his turbo on the climbs.
- When Devolder is able to break away and stay in front, ahead of Cancellara. Devolder has won de ronde already twice and definitely can win it again. It will be a very difficult decision for the Trek team to allow Cancellara go after his team mate.