Tour of Flanders under way

It was shortly after 10AM that riders in this year's Tour of Flanders cycling race set off from Bruges market square. It's the highlight of the calendar of Flemish spring cycling events. Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara are not here opening up the race to a whole host of hopefuls.

Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara won six of the past ten Tours. No fewer than ten riders are believed to be in with a chance today including Wales' Geraint Thomas, who won the E3 Tour last month. His fellow riders have made him the top favourite. Team Sky's Geraint Thomas told VRT News that his participation in the Olympic Games had prepared him for the pressure of the Tour of Flanders: “Named as one of the favourites is a bit of added pressure, but no more than going to the Olympic Games."

Other riders to watch out for are Stybar, Kristoffe, Degencolb, Sagan and Terpstra. Belgian hopes are on Van Aevermaet, Roelandts and Vanmarcke. Sep Vanmarcke: “People expect me always to be able to fight for victory. All I can do is use my talent and try to win."

The Tour of Flanders is seen as one of the greatest challenges in world cycling. It covers 264 kilometres with 19 steep slopes. Luckily the sun is shining in Flanders today and tens of thousands will line the route to cheer on the cycling gods.