Weekend Wrap: Tragedy at Gent-Wevelgem

Wins for Sagan, Quintana, and Pinot

Gent-Wevelgem

We start with the tragic news of the death of Antoine Demoitié. The 25-year-old Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider was involved in a crash with four other riders with roughly 115km left to race and reports indicate that Demoitié was then struck by a race motorbike. He was taken to hospital but later died of his injuries.

"Antoine Demoitié passed away last night after a terrible accident in Gent-Wevelgem," the team said in a press release on Monday morning. "The entire team is in disbelief, shock, angry and sad because of the loss of Antoine. Our thoughts go out to his wife, family and friends." 

Cyclingnews would like to express their sincere condolences to Demoitié’s family, friends, loved ones and teammates.

In the race, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) claimed his first win the season, out-sprinting Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) after the group formed on the final ascent of the Kemmelberg. Etixx-QuickStep led the chase but they were unable to eat into break’s advantage and Sagan was finally able to win in the rainbow jersey.

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Gent-Wevelgem Women

In the women’s race Chantal Blaak continued Boels-Dolmans’ dominance in the spring classics with another commanding performance. With 10 kilometres remaining, Blaak, already a winner of several races this season, slipped clear of a 20-strong group and held off the chase with Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) edging out Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) for second.

The Dutch-registered squad has won every round to date of the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour. Lizzie Armitstead opened the series with a win at Strade Bianche before Blaak won from a small group at the Ronde van Drenthe. Armistead snagged a second victory in Italy with a late attack at Trofeo Binda.

Volta a Catalunya

To Spain and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) laid down an impressive marker in front of his Tour de France rivals with overall victory in the Volta a Catalunya.

The Columbian had to hold off a late challenge from Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), who attacked on the final stage to put Quintana under pressure. However, last year’s Tour de France runner-up held on to beat Contador by 7 seconds. Dan Martin (Ettix QuickStep) completed the podium, 17 seconds down on Quintana. Defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished 8th at 46 seconds in his first European race of the season. Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen – riding together in BMC Racing colours for the first time – finished 4th and 5th respectively.

Davide Cimolai had given Lampre-Merida their first victory of the season on stage 6 of the race, wining ahead of Nikias Arndt (Team Giant-Alpecin) and Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Soudal).

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Critérium International

One Tour de France contender not at the Volta a Catalunya was Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and the Frenchman put in a timely reminder of his credentials with two stage wins and the overall at the Critérium International in Corsica.

The two-day event – with a split stage format on day one – saw Ireland's Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) pick up his first win of the year ahead of Rudy Barbier (Roubaix Lille Métropole) and Romain Feillu (HP BTP - Auber93). In the afternoon Pinot took his first ever time trial win hold a slender lead going into Sunday’s crucial final mountain stage.

The Frenchman did more than enough to hold his lead, winning on the Col de l'Ospedale ahead of Pierre-Roger Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) and former teammate Arnold Jeannesson (Cofidis)

The race was overshadowed by the news that Belgian rider Daan Myngheer suffered a heart attack during the opening stage. He sadly passed away on Monday.

Cyclingnews would like to express their sincere condolences to Myngheer’s family, friends, loved ones and teammates.

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Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali

Heading into the weekend Sergey Firsanov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) held a 7-second lead over Mauro Finetto (Unieuro Wilier) in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

Firsanov finished safely in the peloton on Saturday’s stage 3 – won by young Italian Jakub Mareczko (Southeast) – and on the final stage, despite several attacks, the Gazprom rider secured the overall title.

Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani CSF) won the final stage with a solo attack, while the overall podium was completed by Mauro Finetto (Unieuro Wilier) and Gianni Moscon (Team Sky). 

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