The race with more names than Frank Abagnale Jr. Now rebranded as the Renewi Tour, it’s been cut down to five stages and looks a bit on the easy side for me.
The opening stage finishes in the popular town of Ardooie. With the weather looking good, this is a nailed-on sprint.
The second day and it’s a 13.6km ITT, which will likely determine the winner of the race. It’s disappointing, I don’t think the organisers have designed the route well.
The Muur stage, but it looks different compared to previous years. Two ascents of the Kapelmuur will hopefully cause some panic, but it looks easier compared to previous years.
Another sprint finish.
The final stage has lots of little climbs but only 1744m of climbing throughout. They’ll claim it’s going to be selective, but I don’t see it myself.
Kasper Asgreen – he’ll likely start the race as favourite; he rode into some brilliant form in the final week of the Tour. He’s strong on his TT bike and goes very well on the cobbles, dropping him on the Muur is going to be very difficult. After a poor classics campaign, Soudal – Quick Step would love to take home the title.
Yves Lampaert – provides the team with an excellent second option. He was mighty strong in Hamburg on Sunday; he also seems to have left the Tour with good legs. Lampaert is very good in short TTs, and he’ll back himself to ride with the best in Geraardsbergen. Having two guys high on GC will give them options.
Matej Mohorič – was brilliant in the Tour de Pologne, hopefully he has similar legs in this race. The length of the TT is good news for him, he should be able to limit his losses and be in contention to take the jersey in Geraardsbergen. Mohorič is a former winner of the race, he’ll start as one of the men to beat.
Jasper Stuyven – he’ll likely lose just a little too much time in the TT to challenge for the overall title, but he should be in the mix for the podium. Jappy normally goes very well in this part of the season, he’ll be eyeing up another stage win in Geraardsbergen.
Michał Kwiatkowski – 3rd in Poland was a good result, but he would have left the race a little disappointed not to have won a stage. Just like Mohorič, he should come here full of confidence as he’ll do well in the TT and Queen stage. I think he’ll be one of many riders who would have liked the final stage to be a lot harder.
Tim Wellens – the form is coming. He’s a two-time winner of this race, and after a brilliant TT in Poland, Tim will come here full of confidence. The length of the TT is good for him, he’ll hope to be in the mix come the Queen stage, then we’ll see if he’s got what it takes to take the win.
Josh Tarling – could well lead after the TT, but I don’t think he’s got much hope of holding onto it on the Muur.
The last couple of years haven’t been easy for him, I’m delighted to see him back on top.
A win for Kasper Asgreen.