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by Shane Stokes
April 3, 2016
Photography by Cor Vos
Double Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Peter Van Petegem has given his tip for Sunday’s race, saying that he echoes the favourite status handed to Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek) by several media outlets in recent days.
The Belgian won the Tour of Flanders in 1999 and again in 2003, and also took the 2003 Paris-Roubaix, the 1999 E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, the 1994 Scheldeprijs plus Het Volk in 1997, 1998 and 2002.
He now works with race organiser Flanders Classics, and spoke to CyclingTips at the race headquarters in Bruges on Saturday evening.
“I think a few riders are in good form,” he said. “We saw Sagan, Cancellara, Van Avermaet, Vanmarcke and some others who are very good. And then we have some teams – Sky and Etixx, who have a strong lineup. Tomorrow is the battle.”
One who wasn’t named by him is compatriot Tom Boonen. The Etixx-QuickStep rider is a three-time winner of the race and is vying to take a fourth title, but has struggled thus far this spring to reach peak form.
He is returning from a bad crash in last year’s Abu Dhabi Tour. His best results this season are fourth on a stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February and sixth on stage one of Paris-Nice last month.
“He has a good team and we can have a lot of possibilities of attacks,” said Van Petegem when asked specifically about the Belgian’s chances. “We will see. But Cancellara, Sagan will be the strongest riders.”
Pressed to narrow it down further, he suggested that the world champion can triumph. “I think Sagan is the guy,” he said.
In less than 24 hours we will know if he is correct. If so, it will be the first Monument win of the Slovakian’s career.