|Pozzato in Gp Harelbeke|
Pozzato continued, "Concerning the opponents, Sagan and Cancellara are first in line: they both showed they're at the top. Boonen is not at 100%, but he's motivated for this race. In addition, Omega Pharam-Quickstep is a very competitive team, they can support Boonen in the best way."
Alessandro Ballan (BMC), who finished third last year, will not be in the race.
In race history Belgian riders have had the most victories, 68, with Italians following with 10 victories (Netherlands 9, France 3, Germany 2, Switzerland 2, United Kingdom 1, Denmark 1).
The first Italian victory came in 1949 with Fiorenzo Magni. Before WWII the race was usually held on the same day as Milan-Sanremo which kept Italians at home and the French riders preferred Milan-Sanremo as well. In fact, the there was only one non-Belgian victory before WWII (in 1923 by Heiri Suter of Switzerland). Fiorenzo Magni went on to win the next two editions, 1950 and 1951. The other Italian winners have been:
1967 Dino Zandegù
1990 Moreno Argentin
1994 Gianno Bugno
1996 Michele Bartoli
2001 Gianluca Bortolami
2002 Andrea Tafi
2007 Alessandro Ballan
Gianluca Bortolami's victory in 2001 set the record for the fastest Tour of Flanders at an average speed of 43.6 km/h.
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