It’s ON in Belgium as the stream of back-to-back cobbled classics are now well underway. With Gent-Wevelgem, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix on the horizon, it’s all-go. Bring the action.
Here, we’ve crafted a short list of favourites to watch out for…
(Note: There are far too many notable hitters and contenders to list – this is a start)!
10. Zdeněk Štybar – Deceuninck – Quickstep
This Czech cyclist seems to have it all. He’s a former multiple World Cyclocross champion and transferred his skill and talent exceptionally to the road. He’s won stages at the Tour de France, through to La Vuelta and is almost always at the pointy end of the Classics. Most notably, he won Strade Bianche in 2015, and has podiumed at numerous monuments since, including Paris-Roubaix on several occasions. He’s stormed into the 2019 season with exceptional form, assuring he’s up for a great Classics run with an Opening Weekend victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Friday’s impressive E3 BinckBank Classic. Štybar’s on a roll and we have a feeling the momentum won’t end there!
9. Dylan Groenewegen – Team Jumbo-Visma
This young Dutch sprinter is all speed and well and truly made his mark on the pro scene in 2018 with some stellar victories; from Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, onto an applaudable two Tour de France stages. His turn of speed is exceptional and he’s certainly brought it right back to the 2019 season with a string of victories already to his bow, including two stages at Paris-Nice and most recently this week’s Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne.
8. Sep Vanmarcke – EF Education First
This guy seems to always be right on the mark! Consistently top 5 and with a list of 2nd’s and 3rd’s that must have him bursting for a big Classics victory. It’s a given that he’ll be right up there in the mix, but the question is – can he break the trend and take top step?
7. Philippe Gilbert – Deceuninck – Quickstep
Philippe Gilbert is a cycling phenomenon. He’s won it all; from the road world championships, to stages at all three Grand Tours and a lengthy string of prestigious Classics to add. When it comes to the Classics, the Belgian rider can certainly deliver the goods. He’s one of a select few to have won all three Ardennes Classics, as well as the Tour of Flanders in 2017. He will without doubt be right in the thick of the action, burning bridges alongside his impressive contingent of Deceuninck – Quickstep team mates. Will he be the strongest of the pack?
6. Matteo Trentin – Mitchelton-SCOTT
Matteo Trentin is the current European champion and has done the jersey proud so far, coming in very hot to the 2019 season, having already claimed three sprint victories at the Vuelta a Andalucía and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
Known for his impressively quick kick and his 2017 La Vuelta domination, when he took a succession of four stage victories. He’s also notably won Tour de France and Giro d’Italia stages.
Throughout the Classics period, given his exceptional current form he will no doubt have the full backing of his Mitchelton-SCOTT team. Let’s see what they can do.
5. Yves Lampaert -Deceuninck – Quickstep
He’s the current Belgian National road race champion and a real Classics specialist, bringing yet another strong force to the dominating Deceuninck – Quickstep.
Lamparet has won the last two editions of Dwars door Vlaanderen and in 2017 claimed a stage of La Vuelta.
At just 27, he may well only just be getting started!
4. Oliver Naesen – AG2R La Mondiale
He may not be quite as decorated when it comes to results as some of the other’s on this list, but we have a feeling he could be in for a great 2019 Spring following his 2nd place at last week’s Milan-San Remo.
The former Belgian National champion has proven over the year’s he’s right there in the mix at the cobbled classics, ever-consistent and could well be further up the pointy end over the coming weeks. Time will tell…
3. Niki Terpstra – Direct Énergie
As the reigning champion of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Niki Terpsta will surely be returning with high hopes to reclaim his title.
The Classics specialist is one of few to have won both Flanders and Paris-Roubaix (in 2014) and has a string of other Classics victories and pro wins throughout his stellar career, including 3 Dutch National road race titles.
We’re used to seeing Terpstra on the attack alongside his Quickstep team mates, however this season he’s made a surprising move to the French contingent, Direct Énergie.
We have no doubt that he’ll be right up there as a key contender, but wonder if he will miss the strength of his Classics-strong former team mates?
2. Greg Van Avermaet – CCC team
What’s not to love about Greg Van Avermaet? He’s incredibly exciting to watch, always the aggressor and all-in for the win.
As the current (2016) Olympic road race champion, he can do it all….from one day races, to stage races. It’s during the Spring period, however that we really see his strengths shine as he takes to his home Belgian roads in dominating fashion, leaving many-a competitor for dead.
He’s won Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem, but is still yet to claim the Ronde and will without doubt be lining up next weekend hungry as ever for victory!
1. Peter Sagan – Bora-Hansgrohe
He’s the ultimate king of cycling and has almost done it all. Never to be underestimated, he will rise to the top when you least expect, outshining and outwitting his competitors time-after-time. An absolute treasure to watch and the ever-entertainer. We love Peter Sagan and don’t know of many who don’t!
The 3 x world champion has a list of palmarès far too long to list, however when it comes to the Classics we will note that he’s won Flanders (2016), Gent-Wevelgem 3 x and was last year’s Paris-Roubaix champion in a two-up sprint, beating Silvan Dillier to the line.
The exceptional all-rounder can win from pure bunch sprints, to breakaways, to solo and is not only out of this world strong, but incredibly race-smart too.
Following some early season illness and setbacks, it will be interesting to see how he fares over the coming weeks. For us, there’s no questioning it that he’ll be back firing!
Mummu Cycling will be there with bells on, absorbing the best action moments from the spectacular Ronde van Vlaanderen, through to Paris-Roubaix. We’ll be experiencing the sensational race atmosphere the Classics bring and see the 2019 monument winners crowned alongside tour host and former Paris-Roubaix winner himself, Stuart O’Grady.
Want to join us on tour? Register your interest for the 2020 Spring Classics, here and be the first to know when tour details are revealed!