The 7 stage Dutch race starts on Monday with an interesting field.We have 3 sprint stages,that has interested the likes of Marcel Kittel,Arnaud Demare,Theo Bos,Alessandro Petacchi(riding his 1st race for OPQS),Daniele Bennati,Elia Viviani,Andre Greipel,Giacomo Nizzolo,Tyler Farrar,John Degenkolb,JJ Rojas,Yauheni Hutarovich and Juan Jose Lobato.
We have 3 days of classic style courses,that has brought Lars Boom(reigning champion),Philippe Gilbert,Sylvain Chavanel,Niki Terpstra,Ian Stannard,Stijn Devolder,Filippo Pozzato,Svein Tuft,Sebastian Langeveld,Moreno Moser and Yoann Offredo.
We also have a 13.2km time-trial,attracting Bradley Wiggins,Taylor Phinney,Manuele Boaro,Lieuwe Westra and Alex Dowsett.
We also have GC contenders like Simon Spilak,Marcus Burghardt and Wilco Kelderman.
So,we have an extremely talented field and a good mix of stages.
Stage 1 is flat and one for the sprinters.I would imagine the sprint stages will be fought out by Greipel,Bos,Viviani,Kittel and Demare.
Both stages 3 and 4 are flat and a bunch sprint will be expected.
Stage 5 is the ITT.
Stage 6 returns to classics territory.
The final stage is more of the same.
The 2012 course was easier than this,so I expect that Lars Boom won’t retain the title.I have Chavanel,Gilbert,Spilak and Moser as my favourites,as long as Moser can keep it together on the time-trial.
Wilco Kelderman did say he was targeting this race,but I don’t think he’ll win.
It should be fun!