Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne completes a weekend double-header marking the start of the spring Classics campaign, and Team Sky will be going all out to complete a hat-trick of victories in one of Belgium’s biggest races.
Like most of the high-profile one-day races from late February to early April, it is held in the Flemish-speaking part of the country and takes in some of the region's most famous 'hellingen'.
At 196 kilometres, it is not the longest of Classics and usually ends in a bunch or reduced-field sprint, but the selective climbs and cobbles often ensure only the true hard men will be able to battle it out for the victory.
The race starts and finishes in Kuurne, but contrary to its name does not actually pass through the Belgian capital of Brussels at any point.
After the start the peloton will head east to Ninove but before it reaches Brussels, turns south and heads back towards to the west of the country, taking in a number of key climbs along the way.
The last of the 'hellingen' - the Nokereberg - lies just over 50km from the finish with the final battle then set to take place on the 16km loop around Kuurne that marks the end of the race.
When the riders hit La Houppe (87km) before the halfway point of the race, it marks the first of seven short but painfully tough climbs in the space of 56km.
The field will go on to tackle the Kanarieberg (95km), Kruisberg (100km), Oude Kwaremont (106km), Cote du Trieu (120km), Tiegemberg (132km) and Nokereberg (143km), a stretch of terrain that is sure to split up the field. The all-important factor will be whether those gaps will stick to the end or whether a larger group will come back together during the run-in.
The Nokereberg is not the steepest of Flandrian climbs but its length is entirely covered in cobblestones and its placement in the race is sure to encourage attacks.
It is mainly flat to the finish thereafter, which could allow those dropped on the climbs to regain contact. But there are sure to be more attacks in the closing stages, the strongest of which may prevent a bunch sprint.
Team Sky history
Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne has been a hugely successful hunting ground for Team Sky. Mark Cavendish and Chris Sutton both sprinted to victory in the last two editions, while Ian Stannard took a brave third place in apocalyptic conditions the year before.
Bernhard Eisel also finished runner up while riding for Columbia-Highroad in 2009 and will form part of a formidable line up who will be fully focused on making it three wins from three.
Live coverage on British Eurosport 2 from 1415 to 1615, with highlights on the same channel between 2115-2215, and on British Eurosport between 2300-0000.