What GS said:
If only they'd move a little closer to the sea - as their name implies - we'd have a really kick-ass race. Alas the Middelkerke Noordzeecross stays too far away for super awesomeness and stays safely in 'oh, well' territory. They call themselves 'the oldest cross in the country', with 55 consecutive editions since 1959. That's kinda the marketing trick the Druivencross is banking on too, but they only started in 1960, so way to go Middelkerke. If you can plan on staying, there's a 'camping Moby Dick' nearby.
The race is full of sand, around a lake. There is then a quite muddy section. The conditions seem to be moderately heavy, as far as can be ascertained from photos taken there.
This race, should again suit the world champion Mathieu Van der Poel, who will hope to continue his unbeaten run this year. He is also running out of competition, as Wout Van Aert is running out of steam, as he said last week. Kevin Pauwels came second in Hoogstraten, and needs to win, with Van der Poel third. Possible in November or December, but not now. Van der Haar also maintains some vestiges of form, and should also challenge. Last year, Nys took the win, but this year's Nys isn't like last year's Nys.
The only series in which the overall classification wasn't decided beforehand, Mathieu Van der Poel leads on 92 points to Kevin Pauwels' 90 points. With his early season form, a Pauwels win, with Van der Poel third will give him the series. However, with van der Poel's form, there is only one outcome.
Sanne Cant took her 23rd win earlier today in the women's race, taking the series.
This race is on at the unorthodox time of 4:30 CET/3:30 GMT, leaving it very dim at the end of the men's race. Watch it on VIER.
Who will win? Mathieu Van der Poel.