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While I haven't seen a full lineup yet from every team participating, I will say that if I were wagering $ I would put it on Boonen, for two reasons:

  1. He's been a monster in every race he's entered so far
  2. QS has a knack for getting it done in the Classics.
Not having Bettini might even help them since there's no question who the road leader is. When I was reading a week or so ago about them having two guys capable of winning I thought "that's trouble for Boonen. Bettini is just the sort of guy to go looking for the win even if told 'you're riding for Boonen today.'"

I'd rank Petacchi / Zabel as second favorite, with the tip going to Petacchi because he'll be Milram's captain that day. Zabel has lost a touch off the high end but he's by far the strongest lead out man in the business right now. Third, and my upset special, is Oscar Freire. He's fast, sometimes surprisingly fast, he's won here before and the Dutch Bankers are bringing an aboslutely loaded team (Dekker the Younger and Older, Pedro Horillo, Marc Wauters, JA Flecha, Bram de Groot). All these guys know their way around big races and I think they're going to do their utmost to steal the thunder of their Belgian neighbors. That could set the stage for some great border wars when the classics move up North next month.