HomeCyclingGENT-WEVELGEM'24 Preview: Who Will Win In Flanders Fields?

GENT-WEVELGEM’24 Preview: Who Will Win In Flanders Fields?

GENT-WEVELGEM’24 Preview: Who Will Win In Flanders Fields?

Gent-Wevelgem Race Preview: After final Saturday’s Milano-Sanremo, the WorldTour strikes north to Belgium, the house of the cobbled Classics. Gent-Wevelgem is that this Sunday, it’s not as massive as De Ronde van Vlaanderen, however for those who take the win ‘In Flanders Fields’ you’ll be a hero in Belgium (nicely, Flanders) without end. Right here is the PEZ 2024 race preview.

Traditional cobbles – Gent-Wevelgem

Gent-Wevelgem shouldn’t be a Monument, however it’s a actual Traditional. A younger race at ‘solely’ 90 years-old (Milano-Sanremo is 117 years-old), not so long as Flanders at 253 kilometres to De Ronde at 271 and has fewer cobbles and sharp Flemish climbs, however for those who have a look at the checklist of winners, they’re all ‘names’. In 2022 we noticed an historic victory for Biniam Girmay. Final yr, Wout van Aert ‘gave’ his Jumbo-Visma teammate Christophe Laporte the win. This yr Mathieu van der Poel is the person to observe, however there are others who can win after which there’s at all times the presumably of a bunch dash in Wevelgem.

A small group end like 2022?

A little bit of Gent-Wevelgem historical past
The primary Gent-Wevelgem was on ninth of September, 1934 and Gustave Van Belle was the solo winner after 120 flat kilometres, he gained with a lead of 20 seconds. In these days Gent-Wevelgem was organised for newbie riders by the newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen and Wevelgem was chosen for the end as a result of it was the house city of the occasion’s first proprietor, native textile producer Georges Matthijs. The race was initially run as a tribute to Gaston Rebry, a local of Wevelgem, who was one of many stars of biking in Belgium within the Thirties.

Gaston Rebry
Gaston Rebry

The 1936 the race distance was elevated to 168km and Robert Van Eenaeme gained. The race didn’t run through the Second World Conflict, however when it made its return in 1945 as a race for professionals, it was Robert Van Eenaeme who gained once more. It took ten days for the ultimate outcome to be introduced because the officers wanted a more in-depth inspected of the picture end. Gaston Rebry was by then president of ‘Het Vliegend Wiel’ and the race director. In 1947 Gent–Wevelgem was given its Spring date on the calendar and gained status as Rebry managed to line up Italian biking icons Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, who attracted huge numbers of spectators. Within the Fifties, Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, Belgian biking legends Rik Van Looy and Eddy Merckx every gained the race 3 times. Van Looy’s victory in 1962 was particular as a result of he additionally gained the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the identical yr. Two years later Jacques Anquetil was solely the second non-Belgian winner after Rolf Graf of Switzerland in 1954.

Jacques Anquetil, foto Cor Vos ©
Jacques Anquetil gained in 1964

From the eighties Gent-Wevelgem was extra a race for the sprinters. Guido Bontempi, Sean Kelly and Mario Cipollini have been all winners. The Italian gained Gent-Wevelgem 3 times, which makes him one of many file holders. In 2003 the race not began in Gent, however in Deinze. That yr Andreas Klier gained, however the subsequent yr a younger Tom Boonen took the primary of his three wins in his breakthrough season. His three wins in 2003, 2011 and 2012, additionally makes him a file holder. 2011 was additionally the yr that the race was included within the WorldTour and in 2014, the race was formally renamed Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, a reference to the well-known conflict poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, written by the Canadian John McCrae. The title can be a reference to the route because it goes by way of plenty of necessary places of the First World Conflict. The race nonetheless doesn’t begin in Gent or Deinze, however in Ieper (Ypres) since 2020.

The beginning is now in Ieper (Ypres)

There isn’t one file holder, as a result of Robert Van Eenaeme, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Mario Cipollini, Tom Boonen and Peter Sagan have all gained Gent-Wevelgem 3 times.

Wevelgem Merckx
Eddy Merckx gained in Wevelgem 3 times

In 2022 a thinned out peloton headed for the Kemmelberg, the place the race correct would actually start. Wout van Aert put the hammer down and just a few favourites might comply with, however the race was nonetheless collectively. A number of riders managed to slide away: Christophe Laporte, Jasper Stuyven, Biniam Girmay and Dries van Gestel. Rasmus Tiller and Greg Van Avermaet noticed the hazard and tried to cross to the 4, however couldn’t. Going into the final 15 kilometres, the leaders had 15 seconds and would struggle for the win in Wevelgem. Laporte was compelled to the entrance and Girmay took benefit and was the primary to dash. Girmay held Laporte off for a historic victory: The primary African winner of a Spring Traditional.

Jumbo-Visma 2023 domination

Final yr Wout van Aert gave teammate Christophe Laporte a gift after a powerful two-man time trial. Gent-Wevelgem is a real Traditional the place something can occur. This Sunday the sprinters may need it their manner, or possibly Mathieu van der Poel will add his title to the winners checklist.

Final ten winners Gent-Wevelgem
2023: Christophe Laporte (Fra)
2022: Biniam Girmay (Eri)
2021: Wout van Aert (Bel)
2020: Mads Pedersen (Den)
2019: Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
2018: Peter Sagan (Slk)
2017: Greg Van Avermaet (Bel)
2016: Peter Sagan (Slk)
2015: Luca Paolini (Ita)
2014: John Degenkolb (Ger)

Gent-Wevelgem 2023

Gent-Wevelgem 2023
1. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma in 5:49:39
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech at 1:56
4. Frederik Friston (Bel) Lotto Dstny
5. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo.

In Flanders Fields

The beginning of Gent-Wevelgem has not been in Gent for a very long time, and never Deinze any extra. Since 2020, Ieper (Ypres) in West Flanders has hosted the beginning. With its historical past and the enduring Menin Gate, Ieper is the perfect beginning place for Gent-Wevelgem ‘In Flanders Fields’, because the race is now formally referred to as, a reference to the conflict poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, written by the Canadian John McCrae. The race passes by way of plenty of necessary places of the First World Conflict. The primary 100 kilometres are nearly flat, however the wind usually performs its half, so it is necessary that the riders keep attentive. After the primary 100 kilometres and the passage by way of De Moeren, the place the wind at all times causes an upset, then the race is on.

Gent-Wevelgem 2024
Gent-Wevelgem 2024 map

De Moeren is the place the race can actually open up for the primary time. If not, then will probably be ‘full gasoline’ to the primary actual climbs. The Heuvelland has the climbs of the Scherpenberg and the Baneberg. Then, 85 kilometres from the end, it’s the Monteberg–Kemmelberg, up the Kemmel cobbles through the longer, however much less steep jap aspect of Belvedère.

Gent-Wevelgem 2024
Gent-Wevelgem 2024 profile

After these climbs, the race leaves West Flanders for a loop by way of Hainaut for 3 tough roads: Hill 63, Christmas Truce and The Catacombs. The peloton then returns to West Flanders for the finale. First for the second time the Monteberg and Kemmelberg. The Kemmel is then ridden for the third time through the Scherpenberg and the Baneberg. This time through the steeper west aspect of Ossuaire, the place the race might be determined. After the highest of the Kemmel, there are 34 kilometres to the end in Wevelgem. The street nonetheless climbs somewhat, particularly the half simply after Iepre, however there are not any actual climbs. The end, because it has been for a few years, is on the Vanackerestraat in Wevelgem.

Sep Vanmarcke Unveils the Secrets and techniques of the Kemmelberg | Gent-Wevelgem Insider’s Information

The Favourites
Through the years, the highest males have missed Gent-Wevelgem out of their race schedule, however this yr sees a powerful start-list. Gent-Wevelgem can have many outcomes. Final yr, Van Aert and Laporte attacked within the hills and rode collectively to the end in Wevelgem. Then, like within the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, favourites might all have a look at one another and shock winner might slip away.

Barry Hoban gained from a bunch of favourites in 1974

Mathieu van der Poel didn’t begin ‘In Flanders Fields’ within the final three editions. In his first two years as a street professional, MvdP completed 4th and ninth, then he modified his race program which didn’t embody Gent-Wevelgem. This yr the World champion is again in West Flanders. His season solely began final week in Milan-Sanremo and now he can be racing all of the Classics by way of to Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Nearly each race Mathieu van der Poel begins, he needs to be one of many prime favourites and when he units his sights on one thing… he succeeds. Final weekend in Milan-Sanremo, Van der Poel was robust and closed Tadej Pogačar down on the Cipressa and the Poggio, he then labored arduous for his sprinter, Jasper Philipsen, to take the win. Van der Poel will need to break up the race on the climbs. This should be his tactic or he might lose out to the fast-finishers. A solo end or from a small group can be what the World champion will need.

Milano-Sanremo 2024
Mathieu van der Poel have to be the highest favorite

Van der Poel’s Alpecin-Deceuninck teammate, Jasper Philipsen will nonetheless be on the crest of his Sanremo profitable wave. The Belgian held on to the favourites on the Sanremo climbs and had the legs for the win after almost 300 very quick kilometres. Philipsen can deal with the cobbles and climbs and if he’s nonetheless on the entrance on the end, he can be arduous to beat. The Alpecin group has Philipsen for a dash and Van der Poel to separate the race on the cobbles and climbs. May this carry inner group battle?

Miln-Sanremo 2024
If Jasper Philipsen is there on the end…

Olav Kooij is quick sufficient to battle with Philipsen and some other sprinter, if they will maintain on. The Poggio was simply an excessive amount of for the younger Dutchman, however in Gent-Wevelgem he has extra probability to climate the storms. As in Sanremo, Wout van Aert won’t be there, so Kooij ought to be Visma | Lease a Bike chief, together with Laporte. Final yr Kooij confirmed what he can do, however Traditional winner is one other arrange the ladder. Kooij is without doubt one of the greatest sprinters, very near Philipsen, however is he a Classics winner but?

Paris-Nice 2024
Olav Kooij has had 4 wins this season already

Visma | Lease a Bike additionally has final yr’s winner, Christophe Laporte. Gent-Wevelgem was the 30 year-old Frenchman first Traditional win. It was mentioned that Wout van Aert ‘gifted’ the win to Laporte, however Laporte has confirmed that he was a worthy winner, following up with victories in Dwars door Vlaanderen – A travers la Flandre, two levels within the Dauphiné and the European championships. In Milan-Sanremo, the Frenchman was not at 100% and didn’t end, however he would hope to be match for Sunday. Tiesj Benoot can be a person to observe for Visma | Lease a Bike..

Omloop 2024
If absolutely match, Christophe Laporte might do a double

One other sprinter that might be on the end might be Tim Merlier. He’s Soudal Fast-Step’s prime sprinter, however it’s unlikely he can be using the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France once more this yr, so he should consider the flatter Classics. “Final yr I used to be superb in Gent-Wevelgem. Solely the lights went out within the final 5 kilometres. For a similar cash, the race seems very otherwise and I nonetheless end on the rostrum. Then we converse utterly otherwise,” Merlier mentioned earlier this yr. His dash within the Nokere Koerse final week was unbeatable.

Nokere Koerse 2024
Tim Merlier took Nokere Koerse

Michael Matthews almost gained Milano-Sanremo final Saturday, solely Philipsen obtained the higher of him by the width of a tyre. The Australian has the shape, however he can even want luck. Jayco AlUla can even have Dylan Groenewegen, however he’ll battle on the climbs. He has began Gent-Wevelgem 5 occasions and his greatest outcome was forty fourth. Matthews needs to be the person to observe for the Australian group.

Sanremo 2024
Michael Matthews was very shut final week in Sanremo

Lidl-Trek’s Mads Pedersen led a powerful group in Milano-Sanremo, however he couldn’t compete within the last dash with Philipsen and Matthews. Jonathan Milan additionally didn’t have it on the Cipressa, however each ought to be again within the Gent-Wevelgem battle. Robust situations and a tough finale would go well with the Dane. Jasper Stuyven can be there to work for his leaders, however he may also play his personal card, if he’s allowed.

tdf23 st8
Lidl-Trek has robust group behind Mads Pedersen

Laurence Pithie has been spectacular up to now this season along with his robust end. He’ll struggle to the top with the opposite favourites, males like Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty), Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) and Matteo Trentin (Tudor). Pithie possibly doesn’t have the expertise within the Classics of the opposite favourites, however he has proven he has the facility within the last.

Kuurne 2024
Laurence Pithie was robust in Kuurne, however missed the boat

Arnaud De Lie confirmed he can trip the cobbled climbs on the Muur within the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Kemmelberg within the Koksijde Traditional. He additionally carried out nicely within the echelons and jumped solo from one echelon to a different. He missed travelling to Italy for Milan-Sanremo to trip Bredene and the GP Denain, as a result of he hadn’t recovered from his crash in Le Samyn. Now he appears to be at 100%, so ought to be a contender.

Le Samyn 2024
Arnaud De Lie

There are lots of out bets for Gent-Wevelgem. Luca Mozzato and Arnaud Démare (Arkéa-B&B Lodges), Jordi Meeus and Danny van Poppel (BORA-hansgrohe), John Degenkolb (dsm-firmenich PostNL), Pascal Ackermann (Israel-Premier Tech) and Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X Mobility) are all fast-finishers, if they’re nonetheless on the entrance in Wevelgem. Then there are the robust Classics riders who will need to make life as arduous as attainable for the sprinters: Yves Lampaert (Soudal Fast-Step), Pierre Gautherat & Oliver Naesen (Decathlon AG2R), Joshua Tarling & Jonathan Narvaez (INEOS Grenadiers), Nils Politt & Antonio Morgado (UAE Crew Emirates), Dries Van Gestel (TotalEnergies) and Jannik Steimle (Q36.5).

Sanremo 2024
Van der Poel, Philipsen or?

The Favourites:
TOP: Mathieu van der Poel
Very Doable: Olav Kooij and Jasper Philipsen
Doable: Arnaud De Lie, Tim Merlier, Mads Pedersen and Michael Matthews
Possibly: Jasper Stuyven, Laurence Pithie and Christophe Laporte.

# Preserve it PEZ for the Gent-Wevelgem race report on Sunday and all of the Traditional information in EUROTRASH Monday. #

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