For the first time since its inception, the Belgian classic Dwars Door Vlaanderen will be part of the World Tour calendar.
A succession of cobbled hills and pavé sectors will ensure the process of attrition, with the “fun” set to start after 90 kilometers, when the peloton will hit the slopes of Nieuwe Kwaremont.
Over the next 60 kilometers, which include five climbs, the group should get trimmed down, thus leaving a reduced bunch to tackle the tough combination of Taaienberg, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. The punishing gradients will take the sting out of the riders’ legs, and the ones who will get over this ordeal are likely to fight for victory in Waregem but only after they will leave behind the pavé stretch of Herlegemstraat.
Two-time champion Niki Terpstra will lead Quick-Step Floors team, knowing a third success in the Belgian race, after the ones of 2012 and 2014, would mean an all-time record. The Belgian team will have several cards to play in the one-day event starting in Roeselare, the depth of the team being underlined by the presence of Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert and Zdenek Stybar.
BMC Racing will back Jempy Drucker in Dwars door Vlaanderen, while Orica-Scott will line up a strong squad in support of Caleb Ewan
BMC Racing roster for Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Tom Bohli , Jempy Drucker, Martin Elmiger, Floris Gerts, Stefan Küng, Miles Scotson, Francisco Ventoso, and Loïc Vliegen.
Orica-Scott roster for Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Mitch Docker, Luke Durbridge, Caleb Ewan, Mathew Hayman, Michael Hepburn, Chris Juul Jensen, Jens Keukeleire, Roger Kluge