Take one look at these images from today's Nokere Koerse race in Belgium, and you'll instantly see how big bike racing still is in cycling's heartland.
Wouter Weylandt wooed the large crowds packed along the race course by winning the UCI 1.1-ranked event. The Belgian Quick Step rider sprinted ahead of Jurgen Roelandts (Silence-Lotto) and third-placed André Greipel (High Road).
Britain's representative in the race was Daniel Lloyd riding for the Sean Kelly team, who came in a highly creditable 17th place. This is just the sort of continental event that Lloyd was hoping to gain experience in this season - mixing it up with ProTour riders on a tough course.
The 196-kilometre race starts in the square in Oudenaarde and concludes in Nokere after a finishing circuit that goes through Kruishoutem and Waregem.
NOKERE KOERSE RESULTS
1 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
2 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Silence-Lotto
3 Andre Greipel (Ger) High Road
17 Daniel Lloyd (GB) Sean Kelly Team
The race sets out from Oudenaarde
Plenty of opportunity for the punters to have a flutter
Frank Vandenbroucke still has many fans in his homeland
Nice uphill finish for the riders - the crowd loves it
Wouter Weylandt scores another 2008 victory for his Quick Step team
All photos by Luc Claessen/ISPA
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