Tour of Flanders 2014: preview

Fabian Cancellara defends Ronde title on Sunday

The biggest week of one-day racing on the UCI WorldTour calendar kicks off on Sunday with the 98th edition of the Tour of Flanders, aka the Ronde Van Vlaanderen.

Won last year by Fabian Cancellara, the Ronde has a modified route for 2014 – announced in November to mixed responses.

The Oude Kwaremont, on which Spartacus blew the race apart last year, still features three times while the Koppenberg is closer to the finish than ever before.

Fabian Cancellara detonated the 2013 Tour of Flanders on the final ascent of the Kwaremont. The cobbled ramp will feature three times in this year’s Ronde. pic: ©Sirotti

If Cancellara intends blowing the race apart on the Kwaremont again however, he will face stiff competition.

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) is back and stands one victory away from becoming the most successful rider in the Ronde’s history, while Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has already proved himself on the cobbled ascent at E3 Harelbeke.

On that occasion, Sagan and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) instigated the race-winning attack on the Kwaremont, and both will be keen for a repeat at the season’s second Monument.

So, what can we expect from Sunday’s race? Read on for our in-depth look at the route and riders.

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