"The difference with the second string has gotten even bigger" - Jose De Cauwer sees alarming gap between contenders and pretenders at 'Opening Weekend'

As the Classics season began this weekend, Team Visma | Lease a Bike were dominant, taking a double success through Jan Tratnik at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Wout van Aert at Kuurne - Bruxelles - Kuurne.

"There is not much difference between Jumbo-Visma and Team Visma | Lease a Bike. Maybe they are even stronger," reflects the vastly experienced Sporza analyst, Jose De Cauwer in his post-weekend analysis for the channel. "Why? Because of the strength of their leader and the rest, they don't have much to prove. They really stand out."

In the coming races, as the likes of Mathieu van der Poel, Mads Pedersen and Tadej Pogacar join the competition, will Team Visma | Lease a Bike be able to continue their stranglehold on the peloton? "We don't know yet what van der Poel, Pedersen and Pogacar will do or where they will be," says De Cauwer reservedly. "But it's as if those leaders have become even better and as if the difference with the second string has become that little bit bigger. I don't immediately see any resistance."

That lack of a challenge is alarming for De Cauwer. "We thought that Lidl-Trek would put its foot next to that of Team Visma | Lease a Bike in the Omloop, but that did not happen. Yes, Toms Skujins was good, but he is on his own no team," he says. "But we didn't see a team - such as Soudal-Quick Step or Alpecin-Deceuninck - that was there on Saturday and Sunday."

"But you can't call it a surprise. When those yellow riders go forward, you know the race is on the cards. And yet they just ride away," he continues. "We don't know the competition. Everything is upside down. The leaders only ride when they have to. Just look at how little they race and how little they meet each other."

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