Sep Vanmarcke has been nothing if not consistent during this season’s cobbled Classics. Top five finishes at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and now the Tour of Flanders – all that is missing for the 25-year-old is a first major career victory. Beaten by Cancellara at the death once again – with memories of last year’s Paris-Roubaix surely not far from his mind – his third place is nonetheless another step in the right direction for the Belkin rider.
No other rider has achieved the same sort of consistency this season and when you consider Cancellara and Boonen are two of the riders to have narrowly beaten Vanmarcke this season, it is clear he is fast approaching the top of the one-day scene. And with vengeance on his mind ahead of Paris-Roubaix, there is still time for him to end this season by breaking his duck. A perennial contender so far this season, he has proved his Paris-Roubaix runners-up spot last year was by no means a fluke.