The first sprinters Classic of the year is Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and here are the seven riders who could make the headlines on Sunday
Peter Sagan is one of the favourites for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and he’s got every chance of winning the double at the weekend. He’s strong enough to get over the climbs without any hassle, and as Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (KBK) virtually always comes down to a sprint he’s more than fast enough to win at the end.
It could be a big weekend for the world champion.
Who can bet against Kristoff with the form he’s in this season? He’s won 50 per cent of the races he’s entered so far this season and has ominously started just as strongly as he did in his incredible 2015 season.
He’s a Tour of Flanders winner, so will have no problems on the hills and his sprints this season have shown he’s pretty unbeatable if he’s allowed to get ahead in the final straight.
Your essential guide to the cobbled Classics
It might be too much to expect a victory from the young Australian, but it’ll be interesting to see what will happen if he’s in contention in the final few kilometres.
Like Viviani, Arnaud Démare is pretty handy over the cobbles, placing well at Het Nieuwsblad, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders last year.
He placed fourth at KBK on debut as a 21-year-old in 2012 but always seems to go missing when surrounded by more experienced sprinters. A win on Sunday could give him the confidence to put in a strong season.
Soren Kragh Andersen
Virtually unknown before this season, young Dane Soren Kragh Andersen has shown off his sprint capabilities at the Tours of Qatar and Oman, claiming a few top-10s and third behind Kristoff in the final Oman stage.
At just 21 he may not have the experience to mix with the big names on show but he also does a decent time trial, so if he can make a late attack it wouldn’t be surprising to see him hold off the pack.
One Pro Cycling gained an invitation to KBK and it will allow sprinter Chris Opie another chance to show what he and the team can do.
The British Pro Continental team raced the Dubai Tour earlier in the month where Opie sealed top 10 finishes on the first two stages. It would be a stretch to say that Opie might win KBK on Sunday, but a good performance from the 28-year-old would do One Pro’s cause the world of good.