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Aleksei Tsatevich won last year’s final stage circuit around Barcelona. Photo via skysports.com

The traditional final stage at the Volta a Catalunya, with a circuit around the Alto de Montjuic mountain, a day for the break or late attack. But yet again Valverde could be eyeing up another stage win.

The race heads out of the Catalan capital for 80km, taking in the cat 2 Alt de l’Ullastrell which is 7km long and averages 3.5% – not a challenge, but could see a break shoot of the front and...

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Sagan outsprinted Vanmarcke, Kuznetsov and Cancellera for the win last year. Photo via sbs.com.au

The Belgium trilogy concludes with the longest of the three races, at 241km, but fewer cobbles and bergs. In fact, there aren’t any pure cobbled sectors, but there are three semi-paved/gravel sections or Plugstreets.  Traditionally this is one for the sprinters, but in recent years the weather and the break have had a major say in the outcome.

Gent? Another example of dishonesty in the names...


Kwiatkowski outsprinted a tired looking Sagan in last year’s race, after breaking away on the Karnemelkbeekstraat. Photo via sbs.com.au

E3 Harelbeke. The race with the controversial promo posters (maybe to compensate for the dull fact that it’s named after a motorway?) Another 200+km jaunt around Flanders in the second of this week’s Flemish trilogy. Like Dwars door Vlaanderen, the race is packed with bergs and cobbles in the second half of the race.

The bone-shaking starts a little...

Bryan Coquard celebrated too early, which gave Jens Debusschere the victory in 2016. Photo via sbs.com.au

A triple header of one day racing in Belgium this week begins with Dwars door Vlaanderen. The race covers many of the cobbles and ‘hellingen’ as Omloop Het Neuisblad did last month and is another key marker for those targeting the Tour of Flanders in just over a weeks time. In fact, this whole week is a key marker! Around 10km longer than Omloop, Dwars door Vlaanderen is 203.3km, 11.4km...