Sep Vanmarcke is set to lead the Cannondale-Drapac team at this weekend’s Tour of Flanders. The Belgian rider has finished third twice in the last three years. However, stomach issues and a crash have hampered his build-up and forced him to sit out Gent Wevelgem. Vanmarcke’s focused on his recovery, and he hopes he can factor into his country’s biggest show on Sunday.
“I’ve done everything I can, together with a medical team, to be ready,” said Vanmarcke. “It’s gotten better and I’m happy with that. We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see if the throwing up will come back or not, if I’m strong enough.”
“I’m a Flemish guy from here,” said Sep Vanmarcke. “It’s even more important and bigger for me than most people.”
“The way of the race is old style,” said Vanmarcke. “It’s full gas with leaders attacking each other and not waiting for the helpers and not waiting for the last five kilometers. It can be full gas racing with still 100 kilometers to go. I think that attracts the fans. It’s small roads, hectic racing, a lot of crashes. That’s part of cycling, and it’s what makes the racing so special.”
Vanmarcke’s efforts will be buoyed by a strong contingent of riders motivated to support their leader however they can. There is Alberto Bettiol, who rounded out the Dwars door Vlaanderen top 10 and finished in a select group at Gent Wevelgem. Dylan van Baarle was ninth at E3-Harlebeke and eighth at Dwars. He finished sixth at Flanders last year.
Cannondale-Drapac for 2017 Tour of Flanders:
Alberto Bettiol (ITA)
Taylor Phinney (USA)
Ryan Mullen (IRL)
Sebastian Langeveld (NLD)
Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL)
Dyan van Baarle (NLD)
Tom Scully (NZL)
Sep Vanmarcke (BEL)