Just like almost everyone in Belgium, the first Sunday in April has long been marked in the calendars of Sep Vanmarcke and Dylan Teuns. For the Belgian duo, Ronde van Vlaanderen is the pinnacle of their cobbled classics season.

At 273 kilometers, with 6 cobbled sectors and 19 hills, De Ronde is as tough as they come but Vanmarcke knows what it takes to be on the podium, having graced it twice in his career in 2014 and 2016, and most recently, he finished fifth in 2021. A podium result at Gent – Wevelgem last week suggested Sep is on the right path.

Ronde van Vlaanderen is always a highlight of my season, this year even more so after missing it last year,” explains Vanmarcke. “I was tired after Gent – Wevelgem but I have recovered well in the week since. I definitely took a lot of motivation from my performance there and also seeing how well the team raced at Dwars door Vlaanderen, I think we can be confident at the start line on Sunday. I’ve raced Ronde van Vlaanderen twelve times and I know it’s a race where anything can happen so you have to be attentive from the moment the flag drops. Between Dylan and myself, we have two strong cards to play and if things go our way, I think we can get a great result on Sunday.”

Unlike Vanmarcke, Ronde van Vlaanderen will be Dylan Teuns’ first race on home soil this season. The same preparation last year drove Dylan to a career-best sixth place and the 31-year-old is confident he can repeat his performance.

Volta Catalunya was a good race where I could build some form after coming back from sickness. The level was high, so it was good preparation for the classics. We have to see how things go on Sunday but I feel like I am on track and can ride like I did last year. It’s really encouraging that the team has been performing well in the last races, it gives us confidence for Sunday and I think we can play a role in the race,” adds Teuns.

Guillaume Boivin, Hugo Houle, Krists Neilands and Jens Reynders complete the team and after solid performances in the recent classics, Sports Director Steve Bauer is backing IPT’s roster for a good result this Sunday.

On paper, this is probably one of the strongest team IPT has ever had for Ronde van Vlaanderen. It was great to see Sep on the Gent – Wevelgem podium and Dylan is on his way up after Catalunya so we are looking forward to seeing them in action on sunday. The rest of the guys are healthy and have some good cobblestone classics already under their belt, so we are prepared and we have a chance to get a top result,” says Bauer.

As for the race, Bauer says the only surprise will be how teams play their cards.

The core race is virtually the same so there are no surprises regarding the parcours. The Kwaremont and Paterberg are always critical. especially the second time through because it heads into the really difficult part of the race, the Koppenberg, the Taaienberg, and then the real final. So the second time on the Kwaremont is mission critical with positioning. That said, moves can happen before if teams race offensively so we need to be attentive.”

Ronde van Vlaanderen – 2 April

Roster: Guillaume Boivin (CAN), Hugo Houle (CAN), Krists Neilands (LAT), Jens Reynders (BEL), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL), Sep Vanmarcke (BEL).