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Julian Alaphilippe, Primoz Roglic, Mathieu Van der Poel, Wout van Aert … In the north of Belgium, the fight for the rainbow jersey promises to be fierce and indecisive. Eurosport 1 and France 3 broadcast this championship on September 26 from 8.30.
To celebrate the hundred years of the event, a course conducive to brawl has been concocted. On a typical Flandrian classic profile, hilly and winding, the 268.3 km race between Antwerp and Louvain promises to be grueling. “There are an innumerable number of small hills, some asphalt, others paved, with a lot of technical passages over a very long distance. It’s going to be a real wear race, ”predicts Jacky Durand, consultant for Eurosport. The two-time ascent of the Moskesstraat, a paved climb of 550m, with an average gradient of 8.9% and a peak of 17% finally of ascent, should do some damage in particular. “It will be a very open and nervous race. Especially for the big nations, there can be several contenders for the team title. “
Dominators in the big meetings of the season, Slovenes Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar will face more adversity this time around. “We know their versatility but they do not run regularly on the classics,” recalls Jacky Durand. We will therefore have to rely more on other nations, foremost among which is Belgium, which is particularly well equipped to shine on its lands.
“They have a big team around their designated leader Wout van Aert.” But other Belgians can shine in front of their home crowd like Jasper Stuyven. “They’ve been used to running this kind of course since they were kids with never very long climbs but very rhythmic.” A playground which is also suitable for Dutch rivals. “On paper Mathieu Van der Poel is the overwhelming favorite. But there is a question because he is coming back from injury. “
On the French side, Julian Alaphilippe is determined to defend his tunic. “He loves this kind of punchers-printers profile. Its latest results are very encouraging. Other French people can also shine, such as Benoît Cosnefroy or Christophe Laporte, more of a sprinter but who likes cobbles and short bumps. “
In ambush, other nations will lie in wait for the right opportunity. “Always beware of Squadra Azzura. The Italians can put the bazaar in favor of Sonny Colbrelli or Gianni Moscon. ” Certain individuals, such as the Polish Michal Kwiatkowski, the Slovakian Peter Sagan, the Australian Michael Matthews or the Briton Thomas Pidcock, will not hesitate to play their card in brotherhood mode either.
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