The Tour of Flanders will take the riders over 260 kilometres to the finish in Oudenaarde. The riders meet the challenge of the first cobble stones after 85km. The Oude Kwaremont, the first of 18 cols is situated at kilometre post 115. The celebrated Wall of Geraardsbergen, taken out of the race in 2011, is back in its full glory today. 95km ahead of the finishing line it isn't a decisive obstacle, but it is bound to thwart many a rider.
Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, who dominated the Flemish spring classics including Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, is the big favourite, but Van Avermaet, who is still to win the Tour, will have to see off competition from last year's winner, Slovakia's Peter Sagan. Tom Boonen is also present. He won the Tour in 2005, 2006 and 2012 and a record win now would crown his career as he prepares to take leave of the sport after next Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.