The Tour of Flanders is the second of cycling’s five Monuments after the Milan-San Remo which is slated for March 23rd and is considered the penultimate race before the Paris-Roubaix.

This year’s Tour of Flanders is the 103rd edition of the race and will be held on April 7, 2019 in Flanders, Belgium.  Since 2017 until 2020, the race will start at Antwerp and will end in Oudenaarde. Many of the top cyclists in the world are slated to join the race. Here are the top favorites to win the race:

“Trophy" Who Are The Favorites?

As of March 21st, Peter Sagan is the odds on favorite to win the 2019 Tour of Flanders. Sagan is also the betting favorite for the Milan San Remo on March 23rd. The three-time world champion won the Tour of Flanders in 2016 and finished 6th in the same race last year also as the pre-race betting favorite. Sagan’s resume has a long list of victories in one-day races and classics including the Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem last year.

Sagan made his season debut at the the Tour Down Under in Australia and he also went on to race in the Vuelta a San Juan n Argentina. He picked up one stage in Australia and placed 2nd and 3rd in sprints in Argentina. Although the results weren’t that impressive, Sagan insists those were just preparations for the Spring Classics.

The Tour de Flanders has been the race that has eluded Classics specialist Greg Van Avermaet. The Belgian start cyclist won the overall in the Tour de Yorkshire last year and held the yellow jersey in the Tour de France for a week. What’s interesting though is how he struggled early in the season,during the Classics, where he usually shines. Now the sole leader of Team CCC beginning this year, the pressure has never been higher for him to deliver a Tour de Flanders win.

2017 Tour de Flanders winner Philippe Gilbert is third on the oddsboard at +1100. The Belgian Classics specialist finished third last year and he’s hoping to return to the top of the podium this year. The highlights for Gilbert’s current year is an 8th place finish at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and a 10th place finish at the Tour la Provence.

Zdenek Stybar is coming off a recent victory at the one-day race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last March 2nd. Stybar finished in the Top 10 three times in his last four appearances at the Tour of Flanders. The 33-year old Czech is also a two-time winner of the National Road Race Championships, winning the race in 2014 and 2017.

Niki Terpstra is one of the most consistent riders in this race. The 34-year old Dutchman has finished in the Top 10 in six out of the last seven Tour of Flanders. Terpstra has placed in the top three in three out of the last four years, winning the race for the first time in his career last year. There have been only three back-to-back winners since the turn of the century and none since 2014.

Here are the latest Odds to win 2019 Tour of Flanders. Odds taken from bet365 as of 3/21/19:

CyclistOdds
Peter Sagan+300
Greg van Avermaet+450
Philippe Gilbert+1100
Zdenek Stybar+1100
Niki Terpstra+1100
Oliver Naesen+1600
Yves Lampaert+1800
Wout Van Aert+2000
Tiesj Benoot+2200
Bob Jungels+2500
Alejandro Valverde+2500
Michael Matthews+2500
Michal Kwiatkowski+2500

“Trophy" Who Wins?

Sagan has the ingredients needed to win these races: he is a punchy rider, he has a tremendous sprint and has one of the best descents in the game. The only concern with Sagan is how he was hit by a stomach virus at the recent Tirreno-Adriatico. That’s water under the bridge now and Sagan says he is ready to dominate again. Given that we haven’t seen his form at the Milan San Remo on March 23rd, I’m gonna keep Sagan in mind.

Although there have only been three back-to-back winners in this race since 2000, I like how defending champion Niki Terpstra has performed at this race in the past seven years. Terpstra has three Top 3 finishes in the last four years and is the reigning champion here. Terpstra finished 3rd in the Le Samyn earlier this year, a race he won in 2016 and 2018. He also finished third in the Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne this year. Both are Belgian one-day races that prove his good form heading to the Tour of Flanders. So yes, I like the plus money on him but I like how consistent Niki Terpstra has been in this race. Prediction: Niki Terpstra

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