Always a battle between the fast men and the riders who don’t want a sprint.
The hills are what often make the difference.
It is often the decisive climb. The first time comes with 85 km left of the race. The next time is with 52.5 km left.
We then have Kemmelberg from the other side with 35 km left.
Wind coming from the Northeast. Crosswinds, but not likely we see echelons. This means a constant headwind or crosswind from Kemmelberg to the finish.
How will the race unfold?
Jumbo-Visma is the strongest team. They will want to split things, just as we saw on Friday. I kind of have the feeling Wout van Aert wants to pay Laporte back, but the sponsors might not agree. They will have multiple cards to play once again. They want to attack the hills as they do not want to sprint against Jakobsen, Merlier or Phillipsen.
Quick-Step did not look too sharp on Friday. They will simply have to do better. They won’t beat them with their current level. They should hope to have Ballerini up there as a potential sprinter to beat Wout van Aert.
Jumbo-Visma do have three good cards again. The plan is the same, have all three of them in the front group after Kemmelberg. If they have that, they will be hard to beat as they currently have the two strongest riders.
Asgreen will hope to get a better result that Friday. His form is good but not a lot of riders wanted to cooperate with him – or simply couldn’t after Paterberg.
Campenaerts with a mechanical before the finale in E3. We will have to see how he performs.
Girmay is doing very well. I think it is fair to say he is a strong contender for the podium. He attacked in E3, which he should never do with his sprint. I hope the young rider gets a good result again.
Mohoric is doing well. A longer race is good for him. He will be up there too and claiming another good placement.
Küng is in good form too. He has had the best spring I can remember. I do not see him winning, he won’t win solo against Jumbo-Visma and he does not have the best sprint. Demare is looking good too, perhaps he can survive Kemmelberg.
Ineos has a strong team but Pidcock is not in form and he is their beat rider. They also looked a level below the best in E3. If things come back together their numerical advantage could come in to play.
Trek have two options. It is easier than E3 which means Pedersen has a better shot at surviving. Stuyven is missing a few percent, unfortunately.
Who will win?
I think Laporte will take it.