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Preview: Boonen, Cancellara are five-star Flanders favorites

Race Notes

Weather forecast: Cloudy, with a high of 49 degrees Fahrenheit and a 20-percent chain of precipitation.

Television: For the first time in the U.S., the final two hours of the race will be televised live, on NBC Sports Network.

Women’s race: As part of the women’s UCI World Cup, a women’s Tour of Flanders has been held every year since 2004 on the same day as the men’s race. The 127km women’s race starts and finishes in Oudenaarde and includes nine climbs, with the Kwaremont, Paterberg and Hoogberg all in the final 30km. North American trade teams Specialized-lululemon and Tibco-To the Top are fielding squads, as well as national teams from the United States and Canada.

Pre-race favorites include Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo Women), Nicole Cooke (Faren Honda), Ina Teutenberg (Specialized-lululemon), Lizzie Armitstead (AA Drink-Leontien.nl), Kristin Armstrong (U.S. National), Judith Arndt (GreenEdge) and Belgian national champion Evelyn Arys (Kleo).
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Previous Winners >>

Record-setting American: If he crosses the finish line in Oudenaarde on Sunday, American George Hincapie will claim the record of most finishes at the Tour of Flanders, with 17. The BMC Racing rider is currently tied at 16 finishes with Belgian rider Briek Schotte.

Belgium-based photojournalist Jered Gruber contributed to this race preview.