With Jürgen Roelandts, Tiesj Benoot and title defender Jens Debusschere, Lotto-Soudal can count on an iron-solid trio at the start. A trio that will face quite some resistance from among others Zdenek Stybar, Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert and Niki Terpstra, riders for Quick Step Floors, the other Belgian representative in the WorldTour.
Cannondale-Drapac sends out crowd favourite and regional rider Sep Vanmarcke as headman. In Dwars door Vlaanderen, the man from West-Flanders starts his Holy Weeks and can rely on the support of, among others, Dylan van Baarle in the ranks of his own team.
Another Belgian to keep an eye on will be Jasper Stuyven. The man from Brabant is now freed from Fabian Cancellara and can in the Dwars door Vlaanderen race resolutely take his own chance as co-headman besides John Degenkolb. With respectively Oliver Naessen, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Jens Keukeleire and Timothy Dupont, Ag2R, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, Orica-Scott and Veranda’s Willems-Crelan bring three outsiders at the start that should not be underestimated.
A lot of Belgian talent gathered over a few teams. However, this does not mean that Dwars door Vlaanderen will simply be a walk over for our countrymen. Abroad, a solid can of talent is opened as well.
How about Spaniard Rojas (Movistar), Swiss Elmiger (BMC), Australians Hayman (Orica-Scott) and Matthews (Team Sunweb), Frenchmen Demare (FDJ) and Coquard (Direct Energie), Dutchman Boom (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo), Dane Breschel (Astana) and Italian Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida)?
In any case, more than enough quality to make this race incredibly fascinating.
See you on 22 March in Roeselare for the start. About half past four, it will be clear in Waregem who will succeed Jens Debusschere as winner of Dwars door Vlaanderen.