Well its a sprinters chance of a win in a major Belgium race here but a cold front moving in for the day will mean nothings easy for the riders, as along with sub zero temperatures, some snow is also expected to hit the race. Their may be a change in the route taking out some of the climbs, this will have some affect on the race but at the end of it its still often a sprinters finish.
The last two editions have been won by the sky team and english speaking riders in Sutton and Cavendish. Excluding the last 2 years its 7-5 to the Belgium ruders so 7-7 over the last 14 years of KBK for them. But since 2008 only Bonnen made the top 3 winning it in 2009. It can be noted its been a race dominated by Northies. Italy has not placed since 2004, Spain hasn’t been involved in years as have the French
Bouhanni is a noticeable absence after some good form being shown in Qatar. Kittel also will not race likely to avoid the inclement weather.
So the Route brings them out and back in. OPQS will have big say in how this is raced with large chunk of todays team turning out for this one, hoping not to be second again. Some are saying this will not be its usual sprint if the course remains as is. If climbs are taken out then it may just turn into a sprint once again. Bonnen will stay home to prepare for his Classics defence, that says a lot about how conditions will affect riders in this race. 2010 had horrid weather and 26th finished.
The two best sprinters in cycling top the market here. Cavendish is favourite a best price 2/1 with hills. However its not going be nice day out for him on what looks like will be snow and the original route too. Cavendish has been strong this season with his overall win of Qatar, he did not show his best ide in Portugal when less warm so maybe that is an issue for him. Greipel is 3/1 with ladbrokes, he has a 3rd here from 2 years ago and does tend to adapt to the colder conditions however he has come from a stage 1 win in a cold tour of med stage after he had a very strong tour down under, I would prefer him to cavendish in these conditions.
Boassen Hagen is a max 20/1, he continues to let down the expectations of sky fans, but he has talent, he handles the cold and by all accounts had a nice tune up in Belgium today. Farrar is a surprise at 20/1 for this, he has never placed here but it could be said hes in better form this time round having come in 18th last year. He did have a 5th down under, and has had three places since then in races. Those show hes in right frame of mind but it will be a doubt that he could not get a nose in front just once.
Hutarovich is an interesting 20/1 with Sportingbet. He has two seconds from the last 2 years in this race. He will be at home in these conditions and showed well with two seconds in Qatar. Its hard not to see him been up their if he wants in. Hes a strong rider who can handle himself on the bumps in the road. Demare is the main French charge here he is 22/1 with bet365 riding for Hutarovich old team FDJ. It has to be a worry that he has not raced much bar the down under were he had good second on the opening stage. He was 4th here last year but came in with more racing including a Qatar stage win.
Kristoff is 28/1 for the win with hills. I do not buy his poor showing today I see it more as a ride another day ride and he should be fine for this the cold is no issue for this rider and he was a 10th here last year. He has a handful of top 10s from Qatar and Oman showing good shape already this season. Blythe 33/1 he came 16th here and is one of BMCs better sprinters, he had two 4ths in Qatar but didnt show in one day race in Italy. Howard 33/1 with ladbrokes is the Orica charge, he has beaten Farrar this season in a sprint. He did not race this last year or the year before so its hard say how he will like it. He is in exceptional form as he took away 2 wins in Spain so far this year.
Sutton a past champion is going at 40/1 and seen as skys number two option. Sutton has not really shown so far in 2013 except for a 5th in the classic warm up in oz and in the nationals.
One rider that stands out at big price is Van Hummel at 80/1 with Ladbrokes, he came in 3rd last season, and was on of the finishers back in the hell of 2010. Kenny has little bits of form but if he can dig in he could be involved. Eisel and Swift provide sky with other options here. Reolandts at 80/1 paddypower if still fresh could show hes shown to be good in testing weather.
.25pt Hutarovich 20/1 sportingbet
.1pt L.Howard 33/1 ladbrokes
.05pts Van Hummel 80/1 ladbrokesHutarovich will hope third times the char,
Matchbets: (waiting on pinnacle)
2pts Greipel to beat Cavendish 6/5 bet365
3pts Kristoff to beat Farrar evens bet365, sportingbet (2.13 Pinnacle)
4pts Hutarovich to beat Demare 17/20 bet365, (1.89 pinnacle)
1pt Van Saeyen to beat Blythe 2.71 pinnacle
1pt Phinney to beat Paolini 3/5 bet365
3pts Van Hummel to beat Seb Chavanel 3/4 bet365
1pts Favilli to beat Pelucchi 17/20 sportingbet
1pt Nuyen to beat Flecha 2.93 pinnacle
2pts Van Marcke to beat Pozzato evens bet365 (2.17 pinnacle)
1.5pts Ladagnous to beat Van Avermaet 6/5 bet365
1.5pts Soupe to beat Turgot 11/10 bet365 (2.2 pinnacle)
1.5pt Soupe to beat Hinault 5/7 sportingbet
1.5pts Veelers to beat Seb Chavanel 17/20 sportingbet
3pt L.Howard to beat Blythe 3/4 sportingbet
1.5pts Ladagnous to beat Sy Chavenel 3/4 sportingbet
1.5pt Van Hummel to beat Van Staeyen 5/7 sportingbet