Flanders is in preparation for the annual cycling festival on the first Sunday in April, as the Tour of Flanders beckons with an all-star line-up. On 7 April, the organisation and supporters will welcome the 18 WorldTour teams and 7 teams with a wildcard at the Grote Markt in Antwerp.
Nobody wants to miss out on the most iconic spring classic on Flemish soil, therefore the 18 WorldTour teams will send their strongest representatives to compete in the 267 km race. Deceunick - Quick-Step are chasing a third successive victory after Philippe Gilbert and Niki Terpstra. They’re joined by the new orange jerseys of the CCC Team and Lotto Soudal, of a Greg van Avermaet and Tiesj Benoot respectively, joined by BORA-hansgrohe of former winner Peter Sagan.
The wildcards were awarded to Belgian teams including Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team and Corendon-Circus, giving Mathieu van der Poel his first shot at the Tour of Flanders. Four foreign teams have also been invited to the heart of Antwerp on 7 April to take part in the biggest cycling festival of the year. French teams Direct Energie, with defending champion Niki Terpstra, Vital Concept-B&B Hotels and Cofidis, Solutions Crédits will be there. The final spot is reserved for the Dutch team Roompot-Charles.
In total 25 teams will battle for victory in front of the Tour of Flanders spectators in Oudenaarde. The list of participants will be released in due course and we’ll have to wait until 7 April to see who will succeed Niki Terpstra as the winner of the 103rd Tour of Flanders.
Quote General Race Director Scott Sunderland: “The wildcard invitations given out in 2019 will see one of the strongest line ups of ProContinental teams to date, with these teams all thoroughly prepared and eager to perform at the Tour of Flanders in April. With last year’s winner Niki Terpstra leading his new team Direct Energie, he will be on the hunt to make it back-to-back wins. Terpstra’s younger fellow Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus), the freshly crowned world champion cyclocross star, will be wanting to make history himself by following in the footsteps of his father Adrie, winner of the 1986 Tour of Flanders.
Two other Belgian teams, Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team and Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, are joined by French teams Cofidis, Solutions Crédits and Vital Concept-B&B Hotels, and one Dutch team Roompot-Charles. As always, these teams will be determined to make an impact, to play an important role in how the race plays out and will be ready to race from the start.”