The first bench contains no surprises. Wout van Aert won the Strade Bianche on August 1, but still seems to have those wonder legs.
In Gent-Wevelgem he was (perhaps) the strongest man in the race, but Van Aert got too carried away in the game with Mathieu van der Poel.
After a somewhat changeable second half of the season, the Tour of Flanders is the main goal of the Dutch champion.
Will we have a genuine titate battle between the two rivals between Antwerp and Oudenaarde?
Julian Alaphilippe makes his debut, but with all the knowledge within Deceuninck-Quick Step, this relative unfamiliarity with the Flemish slopes should not be an obstacle. The last world champion to win the Tour? Peter Sagan in 2016.
Mads Pedersen was cunning and strong last Sunday in Gent-Wevelgem. Two years ago the Dane already proved with a 2nd place that he was made for Flemish work. His sprint is an extra weapon.
Last year Alberto Bettiol surprised friend and foe with his solo after the Oude Kwaremont. The Italian sometimes excels in absence, but seems ready to honor his number 1 shirt just in time.
Sunweb dispatches two customers in the bunch with 1 star, although their last straight line was bumpy.
Soren Kragh Andersen fell in Paris-Tours, Tiesj Benoot missed Gent-Wevelgem after a corona alarm. Will they be spared all calamity on Sunday?
Who says bad luck, says Oliver Naesen. The former Belgian champion fell in the BinckBank Tour and in Gent-Wevelgem. Is he relieved of all ailments to (finally) take the step to that great classic victory?
The complete stage of the World Cup in Yorkshire 2019 is in this star ensemble. Mads Pedersen has dinner at another table, Matteo Trentin and Stefan Küng have dinner together.
The Italian does not have to take Greg Van Avermaet into account, the Swiss increasingly illustrates that he is more than just a top time driver.