Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) claimed first blood in this season’s Northern Classics with victory at E3-Harelbeke, fulfilling part one of his stated four-point plan to dominate the cobbled races of spring.
Part two will come tomorrow (Sunday March 30) on the famed and brutal parcours of Gent-Wevelgem, with its near legendary dual ascent of the Kemmelberg – a formidable cobbled ramp with a peak gradient of more than 20 per cent and a descent ever bit as challenging.
Sagan will roll out as defending champion, and while he will start among the favourites, victory is far from a forgone conclusion, given the severity of the course and the quality of the opposition.
We’ll consider the course and contenders for this year’s 76th edition of the “sprinter’s classic” on the pages ahead, one that will once again pit the fast men of the Grand Tours’ flat finishes against the hardmen of the cobbles.
If your fancied rider doesn’t appear among our contenders, head to the RCUK Forum and make your case.