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Watch: Teams spotted on course ahead of the Tour of Flanders

Joseph Delves
31 Mar 2017

Tom Boonen leads Quick-Step Floors in final recce ahead of the Ronde

It's been a busy week of cycling in Belgium, especially for Quick-Step Floors where emerging outsider for the Tour of Flanders, Philippe Gilbert sealed the overall win at the Three Days of De Panne. Meanwhile, Tom Boonen to led the squad in a final reconnaissance mission ahead of the race this Sunday.

Not that he’ll need reminding of too many of the climbs, Boonen first tackled the race as a professional way back in 2002.

A native Belgian he’ll be hoping to nab a record fourth victory over the cobbles before retiring after the following weekend’s Paris-Roubaix.

Still it’s probably worth scouting the course, which this year sees the depart switch from Bruges to Antwerp so as to allow for the return of the famous Kapelmuur.

The climb had frequently proved decisive when it was the penultimate summit before the finish, until it was removed in 2012.

While the team practised on the berg, with it now coming around 100 kilometres from the finish it’s likely to play less of a role in the final outcome of the race on its return.

In other news the team announced Fernando Gaviria was heading home to Colombia to prepare for the Giro d'Italia.

His absence will leave a free spot for one of the team’s reserves, with Julien Vermote looking likely to fill in.

They'd better hope they're at the front if the plan is to shy away from the cobbles and ride up the gutter.

Quick-Step Floors weren't the only team out on the cobbles before the races at the weekend, and we've brought together some of their recon photos and videos below.

Also seen out training on the course were the riders from Lotto Soudal, who had not been in action at Driedaagse de Panne.

Their rivals at LottoNL-Jumbo weren’t fielding a team at the nearby three day stage-race, and so were able to go out en masse to familiarise themselves with the course.

Wiggle-High5 got on the second step of the podium last year thanks to Emma Johansson, who has now retired. They'll be looking to go one better this year, and are certainly taking a squad capable of winning the Ronde.

Team Sky's cobbled performances have been below par so far this year, but with Classics wins away from the cobbles over at Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, the squad will be looking to add to its tally.