March 31, 2019
Gent-Wevelgem 2019 – Deinze – Wevelgem : 251,5 km
The cobbled Classics change in tone on Sunday, with Gent-Wevelgem taking the riders away from the Flemish Ardennes that formed the playground for E3 BinckBank on Friday and will do so again at Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders next week.
March 31, 2019
Gent-Wevelgem 2019 – Deinze – Wevelgem : 251,5 km
The cobbled Classics change in tone on Sunday, with Gent-Wevelgem taking the riders away from the Flemish Ardennes that formed the playground for E3 BinckBank on Friday and will do so again at Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders next week. The tone of domination from the Decueninck-QuickStep team is harder to shift, though, and Patrick Lefevere’s men once again line up with the keys to the race. In contrast to the other race’s in Flemish cycling’s Holy Week, Gent-Wevelgem eschews the Flemish Ardennes and instead heads out towards the North Sea coast before coming down to take on the hills in the Heuvelland area west of Ypres, by the French border. Wind affects Gent-Wevelgem more consistently than any of the spring races, with the passage up near the coast a perennial danger zone, even if the finish is a long way away. Moderate breeze is expected on Sunday – far from the gale-force conditions of 2015 but still in a southeasterly direction that could cause trouble. After that, it’s all about the Kemmelberg, with two ascents of the fearsome cobbled climb the highlights on a menu of 10 hills. The gravel tracks – or plugstreets – return in between the two ascents of the Kemmelberg but have so far failed to have any discernible impact on proceedings since their introduction two years ago.
Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) took the win at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, sprinting to victory from a small peloton, having earlier been on the attack in a race dominated by the wind.
John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) finished a bike-length back in second place, while Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) continued his effervescent spring form by taking third.
Kristoff, who won the Tour of Flanders solo in 2015, launched his sprint early after riding the Jumbo-Visma train in the final kilometre. Jumping to the wheel of Adrien Petit (Direct Énergie), he hit the wind with 250 metres to go and had no equal in the race to the line.
It was a sprint finish that had looked far from inevitable for much of the day, with the peloton shattering in the crosswinds during the first hour. A large group including Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) got away after 50km of furious racing, eventually whittling down until the escapees were brought back with 20km to race.
The flat run-in was commanded by the sprinters’ teams, including the well-represented Deceuninck-QuickStep, who were keen to keep it together until Wevelgem. Attacks flew in the final 15km, but it was impossible to escape the inevitability of a bunch sprint.
After a group of four attackers were finally caught in the final kilometre, it was Jumbo-Visma who led out the sprint. Kristoff appeared from behind the wheels to launch himself from long to take his second win of the season.
“Fernando [Gaviria] did a great race and was in the front all day, but he told me in the last 10km that he didn’t feel good,” Kristoff said after the finish. “So he said, ‘OK, go for the sprint yourself’, because normally I would lead him out.
“I found a good wheel and at the end I was the strongest in the sprint. It’s a huge victory for me and it kind of saved my spring. I can see my shape is coming good for Flanders. This is slightly easier than Flanders, but to get this victory – it’s one of the biggest victories in my career.”
The wind, and of course, the climbs, had a big effect on the race, with Kristoff mentioning how his team’s tactics were adjusted as a result.
“I was in the second group and we had Fernando in front,” he said. “It was good racing by him to stay in front so we could take it easier in the back I knew Kemmelberg would be crucial, so I tried to attack and anticipate it before. I managed to come in the front over Kemmelberg, and I knew I was safe, being in the first group.
“But of course I was tired. It was a hard day from the start, but I saw everybody was really on the limit, so I knew I always have a good sprint when everybody is tired.”
How it unfolded
The 175 riders at the start in chilly Deinze rolled away from the market square to start the race, but they wouldn’t be together for much longer. During the first hour of racing, the peloton powered through crosswinds towards the Belgian coast. When turning left at Gistel towards the coastal town of Nieuwpoort the peloton split into several groups.
The star-studded first group was 20 strong. Several teams had multiple riders in the move, including Peter Sagan, Pascal Ackermann and Rüdiger Selig for Bora-Hansgrohe; Wout van Aert, Maarten Wynants, Mike Teunissen, Taco van der Hoorn and Danny van Poppel for Jumbo-Visma; John Degenkolb, Mads Pedersen, Jasper Stuyven and Edward Theuns for Trek-Segafredo.
Other riders to make the break were European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus), Niki Terpstra (Direct Energie), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Jan Willem van Schip (Roompot-Charles), Luke Rowe (Team Sky), Nokere Koerse winner Cees Bol (Team Sunweb) and Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
Before turning away from the coast and into a favourable tailwind, Jumbo-Visma lost Van der Hoorn and Van Poppel from the front after Van Poppel suffered a mechanical. Even with the loss of two riders, the leaders blasted through De Moeren at over 60km/h [the first two hours were raced at 52km/h], extending their advantage from 50 seconds to 1:20.
Heading towards the French border and the first climbs of the day, Lotto Soudal and CCC Team took control of the peloton, and the gap slowly started to come back down again.
With a first passage over the Baneberg and Kemmelberg, the lead group started to fall apart. First Van Schip dropped, followed by Selig, Ackermann, Declercq, Degenkolb and Wynants.
Accelerations in the peloton from in-form Zdenek Štybar, Yves Lampaert (both Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) on the Kemmelberg and Monteberg reduced the advantage for the 12 remaining leaders to 35 seconds with 70km left to race.
Cooperation among those 12 leaders vanished on the wide roads following the Kemmelberg, and suddenly only Sagan, Teunissen, Trentin and Theuns remained out front. The quartet hit the first ‘plugstreet’ gravel section 59km from the finish 45 seconds ahead of ‘peloton’, which at that point consisted of less than 40 riders.
The gap remained the same over the following gravel sections, but soon afterwards, at 52km from the finish, Luke Rowe (Team Sky) put in an impressive effort to solo across the gap.
Perhaps inspired by Lowe making it up to the lead group, Kristoff clipped off the front of the chasers with 41km to go. He was midway to the leaders by the Baneberg, while over the top Van Aert and Van der Poel attacked with another ‘cross champion – Zdenek Štybar – closing the move down.
Jumbo-Visma then took to the head of the peloton. Not to work though, with their man Teunissen up front. They acted as a rolling roadblock as the gap edged back up over 50 seconds.
On the final climb of the race, the Kemmelberg, Trentin put the pressure on in the lead group as Sagan looked to struggle. Further back, Štybar and Van Aert attacked, catching Kristoff before the trio were dragged back.
Heading into the final 30km, the five-man lead group was 35 seconds up the road, with sprinters Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) lurking in the chase group.
The QuickStep trio of Štybar, Lampaert and Gilbert duly went to work for their sprinter, bringing the gap down to 20 seconds by Ypres and the famous Menin Gate. It was over for the break shortly after, with the five men absorbed with 19km to race.
On the flat run-in, which saw the riders belted by crosswinds, short-lived attacks from Niki Terpstra (Direct Énergie), Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) demonstrated how hard it would be to break away from the group. With a number of teams interested in keeping things together for a sprint finish, it would take something special to get away.
A small group clipped off with 6km to go, with Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-Scott), Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Jumbo-Visma) and Langeveld going on the attack. They hung out front until the final kilometre, when Deceuninck-Quick Step’s superdomestiques took over.
But, as was the case last spring, it once again wouldn’t be Viviani’s race. The Italian was nowhere in the final sprint. Instead, it was Kristoff who prevailed, his powerful sprint proving unmatchable.
1 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 5:26:08
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
3 Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2R La Mondiale
4 Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
5 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
6 Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
7 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
8 Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
9 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
10 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Team Katusha Alpecin
11 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
12 Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team
13 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
14 Anthony Turgis (Fra) Direct Energie
15 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal
16 Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-Fdj
17 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
18 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky
19 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
20 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
21 Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
22 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
23 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Direct Energie
24 Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma
25 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
26 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First
27 Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha Alpecin
28 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Corendon-Circus
29 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:07
30 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:08
31 Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:11
32 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:13
33 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:23
34 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Direct Energie 0:00:24
35 Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step 0:01:19
36 Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:01:38
37 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:30
38 Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team 0:05:28
39 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:08:45
40 Roy Jans (Bel) Corendon-Circus
41 Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles
42 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team
43 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
44 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-Fdj
45 Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb
46 Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
47 Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles
48 Damien Touze (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
49 Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-Fdj
50 Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
51 Maximilian Richard Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
52 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team
53 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal
54 Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team
55 Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Sky
56 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Dimension Data
57 Lars Boom (Ned) Roompot-Charles
58 Dries De Bondt (Bel) Corendon-Circus
59 Silvan Dillier (Swi) Ag2R La Mondiale
60 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Movistar Team
61 Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
62 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Ag2R La Mondiale
63 Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
64 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) CCC Team
65 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha Alpecin
66 Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team
67 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-Fdj
68 Nico Denz (Ger) Ag2R La Mondiale
69 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
70 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott
71 Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
72 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
73 Clement Venturini (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
74 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky
75 Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First
76 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky 0:08:53
77 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step 0:08:55
78 Franklin Six (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles
DNF Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNF Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) CCC Team
DNF Stijn Steels (Bel) Roompot-Charles
DNF Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team
DNF Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Team
DNF Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg)
DNF Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
DNF Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Charles
DNF Moreno Hofland (Ned) EF Education First
DNF Simon Sellier (Fra) Direct Energie
DNF Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First
DNF Jan Willem Van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Charles
DNF Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNF Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNF Julius Van Den Berg (Ned) EF Education First
DNF Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNF Logan Owen (USA) EF Education First
DNF Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First
DNF Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles
DNF Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
DNF Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
DNF Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
DNF Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team
DNF Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team
DNF Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNF Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
DNF Julien Duval (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
DNF Adam Blythe (GBr) Lotto Soudal
DNF Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida
DNF Pawel Bernas (Pol) CCC Team
DNF Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Bahrain-Merida
DNF Brian Van Goethem (Ned) Lotto Soudal
DNF Lawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Senne Leysen (Bel) Roompot-Charles
DNF Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
DNF Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
DNF Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Movistar Team
DNF Bagdonas Gediminas (Ltu) Ag2R La Mondiale
DNF Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Corendon-Circus
DNF Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team
DNF Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb
DNF Florian Stork (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNF Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
DNF Alex Frame (NZl) Trek-Segafredo
DNF Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo
DNF Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Wallonie Bruxelles
DNF Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
DNF Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNF Justin Jules (Fra) Wallonie Bruxelles
DNF Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNF Lukas Spengler (Swi) Wallonie Bruxelles
DNF Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
DNF Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Corendon-Circus
DNF Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb
DNF Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team
DNF Aime De Gendt (Bel) Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team
DNF Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team
DNF Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team
DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team
DNF Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles
DNF Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles
DNF Stijn Devolder (Bel) Corendon-Circus
DNF Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Dimension Data
DNF Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-Fdj
DNF Pim Ligthart (Ned) Direct Energie
DNF Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-Fdj
DNF Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Direct Energie
DNF Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNF Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
DNF Edoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
DNF Callum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNF Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team
DNF Taco Van Der Hoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
DNF Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spa) Movistar Team
DNF Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Team Dimension Data
DNF Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Dimension Data
DNF Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-Fdj
DNF Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Dimension Data
DNF Julien Vermote (Bel) Team Dimension Data
DNF Filippo Fortin (Ita) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Zico Waeytens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Harry Tanfield (GBr) Team Katusha Alpecin
DNF Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Team Katusha Alpecin
DNF Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Team Katusha Alpecin
DNF Willem Jakobus Smit (RSA) Team Katusha Alpecin
DNF Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Leonardo Basso (Ita) Team Sky
DNF Christopher Lawless (GBr) Team Sky
DNF Filippo Ganna (Ita) Team Sky
DNF Lars Bak Ytting (Den) Team Dimension Data