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By Agence France Presse
Belgian Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is widely considered the man to beat in Saturday’s 61st running of Het Volk.
The world champion, who says he is not yet at 100 percent, picks compatriot Peter van Petegem (Davitamon-Lotto) as his main rival for the 201km Belgian season-opener.
Should the race come down to a sprint, Boonen will have to be wary of Van Petegem’s Aussie teammate, speedster Robbie McEwen. And Boonen’s teammate Nick Nuyen, who won Het Volk last year, could benefit from all the attention certain to be paid to his team leader.
This year’s race will feature 14 ProTour teams and nine continental squads. The circuit has been slightly modified, but the principal difficulties remain — cold weather, pavé and 10 climbs, including Mur de Grammont, Berendries and the Molenberg.