Busy week for the Pro Tour, with the "Sprinters' Classic" kicking off Wednesday from, well, not Gent, but Deinze, which is close enough. All the PCT teams are on hand, in addition to Navigators, Chocolate Jack, Landbouwkrediet, Unibet and Skil. Go here for the official start list, including Tom Boonen's license number.
I havent' seen a weather report, but slippery cobbles and a climb or two are all that can be expected to cause a real selection. I didn't say it was boring, I'm just saying that, well, the action will be a little less predictable than if there were, say, a Koppenberg involved.
Because it's more of a tossup, I'll keep the prediction stuff short, and try to round up some resources as well.
OK, first off, the race is live on Cycling.TV -- but only on the premium channel. If you haven't been convinced to subscribe yet, well... I'm open to all points of view. Sort of.
Some key stats:
- Number of past runnings: 67
- Number of past winners slated to start: 7 (Mattan, Boonen, Klier, Hincapie, Steels 2x, VDB, and Lars Michaelsen)
- Number of past winners to crash out last year: 2 (Klier, Steels)
- Number of motorbikes fined for interfering with last year's finish: 6
- Number of five-time Tour winners to win G-W: 3 (Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault)
- Number of potential 2006 Tour winners scheduled to start this year: 0 (Guess I'm not tipping Hincapie for yellow)
- Number of riders who could win the 2006 Gent-Wevelgem Pro Tour race: 75 (Boonen, Nuyens, Pozzato, Mattan, Steels, Van Bon, Michaelsen, Cancellara, Davis, Bertogliati, Nazon, Chavanel, Eisel, Haussler, Kopp, Greipel, Klier, Wesemann, Ballan, Paolini, Petacchi, Zabel, Flecha, Hunter, Hincapie, Hoste, Devolder, Eeckhoudt, VDB, Verhouten...)