Report/Result: Gent Wevelgem

Greg Van Avermaet made history by winning Gent-Wevelgem, on the back of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harelbeke, the first rider to win all three Classics in the same season.

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Report/Result: Gent Wevelgem

Team BMC Press Release

Greg Van Avermaet made history by winning Gent-Wevelgem, on the back of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harelbeke, the first rider to win all three Classics in the same season.

After winning two UCI WorldTour Classics in three days, Van Avermaet showed he is the hot favorite for Ronde van Vlaanderen with an aggressive ride over the 249km parcours, which ended with a nail-biting sprint against Jens Keukeleire (ORICA-SCOTT).

The day started with nine riders going clear and building a solid gap of more than seven minutes. Their advantage reduced when cross winds caused echelons in the peloton but eventually, the peloton came back together and began the chase for the breakaway.

With 88km to go, BMC Racing Team made the most of the chaotic conditions of cross winds and crashes, to put in a big push and split the peloton again into six groups. The race came back together for a second time as the peloton approached the new addition of gravel roads, and it was here that Quickstep-Floors launched a move with a small group of serious contenders going clear.

Stefan Küng, Daniel Oss, Silvan Dillier and Loïc Vliegen put in a huge effort to bring the group back for Van Avermaet as the race entered the final 50km. It was on the final ascent of the Kemmelberg when Van Avermaet made his move and a group of 14 riders went clear of the peloton. Approaching 20km to go, Keukeleire attacked and Van Avermaet, Nikki Terpstra (Quickstep-Floors), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) joined.

15km before the line it was just Van Avermaet and Keukeleire left at the front. The duo put in a brilliant effort to stay clear and eventually, it was Van Avermaet who took the win on the line as the peloton came storming home just six seconds behind the duo.

The Winner’s Interview with Greg Van Avermaet

Greg, Congratulations! Describe your feeling right now.
“I was not expecting to win Gent-Wevelgem, but I’m really happy. It’s definitely the best start of the season that I’ve ever had. I’ve won three Classics already so it’s an amazing feeling. It’s never easy to win these races and normally Gent-Wevelgem isn’t so much of a race for me. I tried so many times to win here and now I’ve won three all in one season. It’s a wonderful feeling and it gives me extra confidence for Ronde van Vlaanderen.”

It was a chaotic day with cross winds and crashes but you had the team there to protect you in crucial moments. How was it out there?

“The guys, like Stefan Küng and Loïc Vliegen, did a great job to bring Quickstep-Floors back when they went away on the gravel roads. Daniel Oss was strong too the whole day. It was a really hard race for sure and you need a strong team in these races.”

You attacked and created the final selection on the Kemmelberg. Was this the plan?
“The Kemmelberg is always a point when everyone wants to go and I felt really strong there. I hoped to get a good group with me and that’s what happened. Then we went way with strong guys. I was riding really hard the whole time because sometimes when you do a small pull you lose less energy than when you have to close gaps. In a race like this you can’t say we are not going to ride with 20km to go. You have to keep going the whole time. That’s what happened with Jens Keukeleire and I when it was just the two of us. The whole last 10km we weren’t speaking, it was just head down and going as fast as we could. It was a great win and the race was really perfect.”

Three big wins must put you in a fantastic position for Ronde van Vlaanderen?
“For sure. I don’t think I can say anymore that I’m not the favorite. These wins give me extra confidence before next Sunday. I said on Friday that I can beat anyone in the sprint on a hard race. Now we look to Ronde van Vlaanderen and I’m going to give it everything I have.”

Jens Keuekeleire : “I’ve been feeling really good the last couple of years in these classics,” said Keuekeleire at the finish. “I get a lot of confidence from the team and I appreciate it a lot. I haven’t really gotten the biggest results, but still they show confidence in me and I’m really happy to be able to show that I can get results in these races.”

“I came really close today and I think if you can come second you can also win and I think that is the same for Flanders. With ORICA-SCOTT we have won four out of the five monuments and the only one missing is Flanders so it would be nice to go win that one.”

Peter Sagan (Bora – Hansgrohe):  “I don’t know what Terpstra wanted to do, because he attacked to go in the breakaway, but afterwards he didn’t want to work. This is just one example of how you can lose the race against me. What can I do – we’re not teammates – I can’t work for everyone, only for them to beat me in the sprint. I’m not disappointed – I’m more motivated now. If you win all the time, you lose your motivation. Now I’m motivated to take some more wins. We’ll see what happens at Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.”

Nikki Terpstra (Quickstep): “We were five riders in the front. When Greg and Jens attacked, I didn’t chase immediately, because I thought it was up to Sagan to close the gap, as he was the fastest of the group. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come back until the line and that was that”, explained Niki Terpstra

Tom Boonen (Quickstep): One of the five riders to have won Gent-Wevelgem on three occasions, Tom Boonen saw the bright side of things following the sixth place he got at his last presence here: “It was another good race for me. To score a top 10 finish in my final appearance at Gent-Wevelgem isn’t that bad, considering how tough the race was. This just comes as extra proof that I’m on the right road for Flanders and Roubaix.”

John Degenkolb (Trek Segafredo): “I think we did an amazing race as a team, and I am really happy about that,” were the first words by John Degenkolb when interviewed at the finish. “This gives us a lot of confidence going into the next weeks. It was not a victory, but it was good. Also, the sprint from the bunch.

“I did one mistake and missed the last split. In the moment when Keukeleire went, I was taking my last bidon, and I lost a few meters, and then I missed it. I think overall we can be happy with our performance – much better than Friday!

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data): It was a hard race and the finale began quite early today. I managed to be up in the front, in a good position and was riding well. Scott and Bernie were doing a really good job as well. I was feeling a bit hunger flat when there was a split. I still tried to close the gap, and I used all the energy I had left. At the end, I didn’t have anything left for the sprint. It was a really hard race.

Roger Hammond (Dimension Data): The guys were riding well and in a good position over the Kemmelberg. They just missed that move with Keukeleire and that was fatal. I think everybody at that point was on their limit. The thing is if you guys those guys 2 centimetres, well, you can see the result today. The team rode really well today though. They rode with power and passion and we were in the bike race until 10km to go. If you have 2 guys capable of winning the race that close to the finish, it’s a good place to be in, so there is a lot positives we can take from today.

Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)“I am disappointed because we didn’t get to the position that we rode really hard for but this was a huge experience for me in my development. The race brings me a step further to know how to deal with this finale and today has been an invaluable learning curve.”
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1. Greg Van Avermaet, BMC Racing Team
2. Jens Keukeleire, ORICA-Scott
3. Peter Sagan, Bora – Hansgrohe
4. Nikki Terpstra, Quick-Step Floors
5. John Degenkolb, Trek – Segafredo
6. Tom Boonen, Quick-Step Floors
7. Jens Debusschere, Lotto Souda
8. Michael Matthews, Team Sunweb
9. Fernando Gaviria, Quick-Step Floors
10. Sacha Modolo, UAE Team Emirates

21. Ian Stannard, Team Sky
29. Scott Thwaites, Dimension Data
70. Mark Mcnally, Wanty – Groupe Gobert
72. Ryan Mullen, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
73. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha – Alpecin

Women Professionals

1. Lotta Lepistö, Cervélo-Bigla Pro Cycling
2. Jolien d’HooreWiggle High
3. Coryn Rivera Team Sunweb

7. Alice Barnes, Drops
15. Hannah Barnes, Canyon SRAM Racing
75. Abby-mae Parkinson, Drops

1 Pfeiffer Georgi, Gbr
2 Amber Van Der Hulst 0:52
3 Lorena Wiebes

20. Lauren Murphy, Gbr
23. Jessica Roberts, Gbr
25. Madeleine Gammons, Gbr
32. Anna Docherty, Gbr
36. Ellie Russell, Gbr
37. Gwenno Hughes, Gbr
51. Sophie Thackray , Gbr,
62. Isabel Ellis, Gbr
81. Elizabeth Bennett, Gbr 3:02
89. Sophie Enever, Gbr 3:51

1. Ludvig Wacker
2. Michiel Hillen
3. Davide Ferrari

11. Tom Pidcock, Gbr
14. Rhys Britton, Gbr
19. Jake Stewart, Gbr
24. Alfred Wright, Gbr
27. Ethan Vernon, Gbr
28. Louis Rose Davis, Gbr
31. Oliver Robinson, Gbr
32. William Tidball, Gbr
38. Jim Brown, Gbr

1. Jacob Hennesy, Gbr
2. Ian Garrison Axeon Hagens
3. Rasmus Tiller Team Joker

36. Ethan Hayter , Gbr
57. Adam Hartley, Gbr
68. Joe Holt , Gbr
69. Matthew Bostock, Gbr 5:06



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