New date and length to add prestige to Belgian semi-classic
The organisers of Gent-Wevelgem, after already having revealed the new date of the event for the 2010 season, moreover plan to extend the length of the race in order to add further appeal to it. The semi-classic, which used to take place in the week after the Ronde van Vlaanderen, will next season be raced on the Sunday before the Tour of Flanders, and feature a route of 250 kilometres instead of a little over 200.
The new date of Gent-Wevelgem will thereby mark the start of the "Flemish week" of the Spring Classics, and its greater length will attract more riders to use it as a preparation for the 'Ronde'.
Race director Hans De Clerq told Het Nieuwsblad that "the most important course change is the length. We are still looking for some more passages, another cobblestone stretch here and there, but there will be no fundamental alteration made to the finale."
The famous Kemmelberg will remain on the parcours, to be climbed twice in the last part of the event which often ended in a bunch sprint in the past. Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) won the event this year out of a breakaway.
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