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Editors’ Picks: Who will win Flanders?

One of the biggest classics of the season rolls into Belgium on Sunday. Here are our experts' picks to win Ronde van Vlaanderen.

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Here are our rapid-fire predictions for Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen men’s and women’s races. The VeloNews editorial staff will make predictions for major races throughout the season.

John Bradley, editor in chief
Picks: Peter Sagan and Elizabeth Armitstead

I think Sagan has finally realized that he’s been missing the finale finesse that separates the legends from the merely supremely talented. He was so smart and patient in winning Gent. He’s putting it all together.

Armitstead is the best rider in the peloton, backed by the strongest team in the peloton. She’s almost winning for fun at this point. And Boels has so many cards to play, she’ll benefit all the more from how defensive her rivals have to be.

Spencer Powlison, news director
Picks: Michal Kwiatkowski and Megan Guarnier

Kwiatkowski’s E3 win showed me all I needed to see. Yes, Sagan has a great shot, as does Cancellara, but this Polish ace is going to win Sky’s first monument, thanks to his climbing talents and fast finish. But perhaps more importantly, he’ll have Ben Swift or another capable teammate behind to stymie the chase on the long flat to the finish after the Paterberg.

Guarnier was beaten by only one woman at Wednesday’s Pajot Hills Classic — Marianne Vos. She’s the perfect under-the-radar threat for Boels to send off the front, probably on the Oude Kwaremont, to ride alone to victory. An American (man or woman) has never won De Ronde. Wouldn’t you like to see a little bit of history made on Sunday?

Chris Case, managing editor
Picks: Fabian Cancellara and Lizzie Armitstead

Cancellara showed incredible strength to even have a chance of winning E3 and Gent, after overcoming bad luck on both occasions. There will be no bad luck for him at Flanders, and he will cement his legendary status with an emphatic win.

Why would you bet against Armitstead? It would almost be a surprise if she didn’t win.

Caley Fretz, senior editor
Picks: Fabian Cancellara and Lizzie Armitstead

Cancellara will win it solo, like the good old days. He’s hungry and fit, and the chase group behind him (Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Michal Kwiatkowski, Alexander Kristoff, I think) won’t work well together.

A Pauline Ferrand-Prevot win would be a great story (and reporters love great stories), but I’m behind on points and need a safe bet here. Unless something goes wrong, I can’t see Armitstead losing.

Andrew Hood, European correspondent
Picks: Peter Sagan and Emma Johansson

No one’s stronger than Sagan right now. A few might be able to follow, but he’s racing smarter than ever. Only a puncture or a crash will derail his first monument.

Johansson has been knocking on the door for a big win this season for awhile.

Dan Cavallari, tech editor
Picks: Fabian Cancellara and Lizzie Armitstead

Fabian has looked great, aside from mechanicals that have cost him the legs at the end. He’s fired up and has all the tools to pull this off.

Armistead. Best rider, best team. What else is there to say?

Kristen Legan, associate editor
Picks: Fabian Cancellara and Lizzie Armitstead

Maybe it’s more of a hope than a guess, but my fingers are crossed for Cancellara this weekend. He’ll have a pack of motivated racers like Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet on his heels, but “Spartacus” will outsmart and outride the others for his fourth Flanders victory.

It’s hard to bet against the world champ and her dominant Boels – Dolmans team this year. Hopefully we’ll see an exciting battle to the finish between Armitstead, reigning Flanders champ Elisa Longo Borghini, and Rabobank’s stellar trio of Lucinda Brand, Anna van der Breggen, and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. But Armitstead is unstoppable right now, even with the entire peloton working against her.

Gregor Brown, reporter
Michal Kwiatkowski and Elizabeth Armitstead

Kwiatkowski appears to be on target this year and happily supported by a team all his own. After E3 Harelbeke, he jetted away for specialized training while the others hung around Flanders. This could make the winning difference.

Boels has one of the best teams, which will become important for controlling the Flemish classic. With Armitstead’s recent wins and Blaak’s, the team is full of confidence. Expect another world champion win Sunday in Oudenaarde

Dane Cash, web editor and reporter
Picks: Greg Van Avermaet and Chantal Blaak

Van Avermaet has the well-rounded skillset required to win De Ronde, and he looks stronger than ever this season. He should be able to hang with the best on the cobbled climbs, and he’s got the fast finish to go toe to toe against most of the big favorites in a sprint. This could finally be his year.

It’s not easy narrowing down the Boels – Dolmans selection to just one favorite, but Blaak looks as strong as anyone in the pro peloton right now. Fresh off a convincing Gent-Wevelgem win, she has what it takes to handle the Flemish cobblestones again Sunday.