Overview

Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields

BE Belgium, 31 Mar
1 stages, 251.5 km

Amazing team effort of Deceuninck – Quick-Step at Gent-Wevelgem

Amazing team effort of Deceuninck – Quick-Step at Gent-Wevelgem

Ten hills and three plugstreets were the main attraction of the 81st Gent-Wevelgem, which got off to a crazy start, with twenty riders – including Tim Declercq – making the selection in the crosswinds and opening a 1:30 maximum gap that began coming down only on the first ascent of the Kemmelberg, where Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harelbeke winner Zdenek Stybar put in a searing attack that cut into their advantage and had many riders on the ropes.

Tim Declercq dropped from the breakaway with around 80 kilometers left and gave a hand to his teammates, before Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert took over and chewed into that advantage, at the same time smaking sure the rhythm over the climbs kept Elia Viviani in contention. Stybar made a move again on the steepest section of the Kemmelberg, drawing a select group of three which was joined by the remnants of the bunch after the sinuous descent.

Philippe Gilbert also massively contributed to the chase, and the powerful Deceuninck – Quick-Step trio narrowed the buffer of the five escapees, before gradually hauling them back and making the catch in Ypres. Attacks came thick and fast in the closing 20 kilometers, with more and more riders firing off the front, but each time a gargantuesque effort of the Wolfpack, who rode their heart out to make sure it all stuck together, spelled the end of these attempts.

“We came back with some 20-25 kilometers to go and it was only Styby and me left to control the bunch for Elia. We tried to keep things together and reel in the attacks, and we did that, but it didn’t stop the others from trying their luck. I then went at the back to recover a bit and came again to the front, putting in another big pull inside the last two kilometers. Everyone went pretty deep today and it was a really tough race, so recovery will be paramount now”, Philippe said in Wevelgem.

Another group then went clear with five kilometers remaining, leaving the same incredible Philippe Gilbert and Zdenek Stybar to mark the moves and dig deep in order for the race to come down to a bunch sprint. Elia Viviani tried to kick out inside 200 meters to go, but his sprint has hindered by other riders and the Italian Champion found himself blocked, finishing the race won by Alexander Kristoff (Team UAE Emirates) outside the top 10.

“The team did a very solid race today, they were so impressive and strong. With the crosswinds splitting the bunch so early, the frantic chase cost us some energy, but the guys were still brilliant, doing some tremendous pulls for me. I was focused on Kristoff from five kilometers to go, but unfortunately the sprint was really chaotic and with 200 meters to go I wasn’t in his wheel anymore. It wasn’t our day and of course I am disappointed with the result, but I will try to overcome this moment and continue the preparation for my next race, the Tour de Romandie”, Viviani told the reporters after putting a stop to his Spring Classics campaign at the fastest ever edition of Gent-Wevelgem, ridden at an average of 46.27km/h.

 

Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images

Race details

1 Alexander Kristoff
UAE-Team Emirates
5:26:08
2 John Degenkolb
Trek - Segafredo
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3 Oliver Naesen
AG2R La Mondiale
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4 Mathieu van der Poel
Corendon - Circus
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5 Danny van Poppel
Team Jumbo-Visma
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6 Adrien Petit
Direct Energie
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7 Matteo Trentin
Mitchelton-Scott
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8 Rüdiger Selig
BORA - hansgrohe
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9 Matej Mohorič
Bahrain Merida
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10 Jens Debusschere
Team Katusha Alpecin
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19 Elia Viviani
Deceuninck - Quick Step
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22 Philippe Gilbert
Deceuninck - Quick Step
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35 Zdeněk Štybar
Deceuninck - Quick Step
1:19
63 Tim Declercq
Deceuninck - Quick Step
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77 Yves Lampaert
Deceuninck - Quick Step
8:55
1005 Fabio Jakobsen
Deceuninck - Quick Step
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1005 Maximiliano Richeze Araquistain
Deceuninck - Quick Step
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