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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Durbridge may be a threat to big two

Sagan and Van Avermaet dominate market

Tiesj Benoot of Belgium is set to lead Lotto's charge in the Tour of Flanders
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Eurosport 1
9am Sunday

If bookmakers are to be believed the 101st edition of the prestigious Tour of Flanders is a match between world champion Peter Sagan and Olympic gold medallist Greg van Avermaet.

Outside the top two in the betting, only Belgian national champion Philippe Gilbert is quoted at single figures and it is easy to see why.

Defending champion Sagan has form figures of 2-1-2-108-3 in the five classics (out of six) he has completed this year while Van Avermaet has been in irresistible shape, claiming a hat-trick of one-day races at Gent-Wevelgem last week.

Ominously for the rest of the peloton, De Ronde has been GVA’s strongest event of the five monuments but that is also the case for Sagan who has finished inside the top five in four of the last five years.

On current form they are the worthy favourites and likeliest winners.

However, there is still some merit in opposing the duo with some firms offering four each-way places.

A Tour of Flanders win is the only monument title missing from Australian outfit Orica-Scott’s palmeras and they have named a deep squad in their bid to complete the set.

Luke Durbridge has had a particularly strong classics campaign, culminating in a stage win at last week’s Three Days of De Panne. That followed fourth-placed finishes at Dwars door Vlanderen and the E3 Harelbeke, so there looks to be plenty of mileage in his 50-1 quotes.

Lotto-Soudal youngster Tiesj Benoot shot to prominence two years ago with a fifth-placed De Ronde finish at just 21 and while he is yet to build on that, he could be overpriced.

He has three strong finishes to his name in one-day races this term and judging by his start number, he will be the man to lead Lotto’s charge. He is 50-1 with bet365, but they offer only  three each-way places and the 40-1 with firms who offer four places is preferred.

Recommendations
L Durbridge
1pt e-w 50-1 general
T Benoot
1pt e-w 40-1 general

Luke Durbridge has had a particularly strong classics campaign, culminating in a stage win at last week’s Three Days of De Panne
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