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Degenkolb wins Gent-Wevelgem

By:
Brecht Decaluwé

Demare, Sagan round out podium

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) sprinted to victory at Gent-Wevelgem ahead of Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) after a high-speed, hectic race on the hills and WW1 battle fields of Flanders. Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) placed fourth, followed by Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in fifth in the sprint but a crash took down Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) in the final kilometres. 

The two climbs of the Kemmelberg did little to test the favourites and only a late attack by Belgian champion Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing), Silvan Dillier (BMC) and Andrey Amador (Movistar) almost spoilt the sprinters' party. However the move was neutralised inside the final two kilometres by a peloton approximately 40 strong. Everyone seemed to think they could win, sparking a trail of crashes but while Sagan hit out too early and Demare left it a little late, Degenkolb opened his sprint at the right moment and won in style. 

Degenkolb blew kisses to the television camera as he celebrated his victory.  "This is one of the really big Classics and I'm very happy to get this victory," he said.

"This is the next step in my career. I won Hamburg and that's a WorldTour race but with respect to it, this is a big, big race. It's great to win here."

How it happened

The conditions at the start of the 76th edition of Gent-Wevelgem, in Deinze were in stark contrast with those from last year.

Last year riders got back in the their team buses after signing on and then drove to Gistel due to the snow covering many roads. This time around temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius plus nearly no wind created an enjoyable start setting for the peloton. Knowing that the wind would not result in echelons at the feared flatlands of the Moeren made most riders very relaxed.

Straight from the start five riders attacked with no reaction from the peloton. The riders in the early breakaway move were Sebastian Lander (BMC), Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo), Marcel Aregger (IAM), Jaco Venter (MTN-Qhubeka) and Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Robert). In less than an hour of racing the five had a lead of ten minutes on the peloton where Frederik Willems (Lotto-Belisol) set a steady pace for more than 100km.

When reaching the first climb of the day in France, the Mont Cassel, after 115km of racing the gap was down to eight minutes. During the 40km-long French passage the gap continued to fall and when heading back into Belgium 85km from the finish – two climbs later – the leaders had only 5:30 left on the peloton.

The emphasis of the hill zone was the trio of climbs comprised of the Baneberg, Kemmelberg and Monteberg with all to be completed two times. The leaders reached the zone three minutes up on the peloton and during the first loop Lander was dropped up front as Boaro and Veuchelen set a fierce pace.

Meanwhile, a pair of crashes in the peloton knocked some pre-race favourites out of contention. The first incident before the Kemmelberg took out Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) and on the roads following the Monteberg Ian Stannard (Sky) ended up in the ditch. Both Ventoso and Stannard would be brought to the hospital as a result of their crashes.

Some riders anticipated the second loop and launched an attack. Silvan Dillier (BMC), Lloyd Mondory (AG2R La Mondiale), Andrey Grivko (Astana) and Antonio Parrinello (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) jumped away and took half a minute on the peloton.

When starting the second loop of climbs the sun disappeared and so did most of the leaders. Boaro immediately attacked and led the race solo. The rest of the former lead group were quickly swept up by the four counter-attackers. The pace increased in the peloton and at the back Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) was struggling hard, seemingly in no shape to battle for the victory this Sunday afternoon.

In the run-up towards the Kemmelberg there was a big crash at the back of the peloton with Christopher Sutton (Team Sky) the biggest casualty. Boaro survived the Kemmelberg in front of the peloton where Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) led the peloton up the climb. Pre-race favourites Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) were all in the front of the peloton as well.

Eighteen riders separated themselves from the peloton over the iconic cobbled climb with André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) surprisingly surviving the cut. More riders managed to bridge back up to the first group before the Monteberg. At the top of the Monteberg the final breakaway rider, Boaro, was finally caught. With 35km to go most of the sprinters featured in the front of the race and there was little time left for attackers to prevent a field sprint finale. Cancellara, Sagan and Boonen all took pulls in front but no more damage was done. The race looked set for a high-speed sprint finish.

With 30km to go it was clear that about 80 riders were still in the mix for the win with the bulk of the work in the peloton shared by BMC, Lotto-Belisol and Garmin-Sharp. Then Devolder dragged the late attack clear, setting up for the dramatic finale. Degenkolb avoided the crashes and chaos to find the best line to the finish and so add his name to the rich list of former winners.  

 

Full Results

1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 5:34:37  
2 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr    
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale    
4 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
5 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
6 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
7 Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha    
8 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale    
9 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team    
10 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
11 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha    
12 Sam Bennett (Irl) Team NetApp - Endura    
13 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar    
14 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
15 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
16 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
17 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka    
18 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo    
19 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing    
20 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
21 Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team    
22 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team    
23 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky    
24 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky    
25 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
26 Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ.fr    
27 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
28 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
29 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka 0:00:04  
30 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:06  
31 Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
32 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:09  
33 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:10  
34 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
35 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 0:00:16  
36 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
37 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:19  
38 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing    
39 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol    
40 Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing    
41 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team    
42 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team Katusha    
43 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
44 Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo    
45 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Garmin Sharp    
46 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
47 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky    
48 Steve Chainel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
49 Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
50 Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
51 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky    
52 Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling    
53 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:27  
54 Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp - Endura    
55 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol    
56 Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr    
57 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
58 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
59 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team    
60 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin Sharp    
61 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing    
62 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Androni Giocattoli    
63 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin Sharp    
64 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
65 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team    
66 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
67 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
68 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing    
69 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
70 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
71 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
72 Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo    
73 Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
74 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo    
75 Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka    
76 Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale    
77 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale    
78 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale    
79 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:02:08  
80 Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:02:27  
81 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge    
82 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:02:39  
83 Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp - Endura 0:03:27  
84 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 0:04:07  
85 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo    
86 Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:04:28  
87 Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
88 Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
89 Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing    
90 Blaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp - Endura    
91 Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
92 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar    
93 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing    
94 Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling    
95 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
96 Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale    
97 Nicola Testi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
98 Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
99 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano    
100 Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
101 Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
102 Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
103 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN - Qhubeka    
104 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha    
105 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin Sharp    
106 Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
107 Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha    
108 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
109 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr    
110 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr    
111 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
112 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky    
113 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
114 Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
115 Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
116 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Garmin Sharp    
117 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli    
118 David Boucher (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:08:11  
119 Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
120 Edward King (USA) Cannondale    
121 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar    
122 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
123 Jay Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka    
124 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team    
125 Andrea Zordan (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
126 Kevyn Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling    
127 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar    
128 Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
129 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo    
130 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol    
131 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp    
132 Rudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha 0:13:04  
133 Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
134 Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team    
135 Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo    
136 Tim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
137 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge    
138 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale    
139 Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
140 Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
141 Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida    
142 Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:14:29  
143 Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team    
144 Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC Racing Team    
145 Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
146 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.fr    
147 Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team Katusha    
148 Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka    
149 Maxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
150 Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar    
151 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling    
152 Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale    
153 Edwig Cammaerts (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
DNS Svein Tuft (Can) Orica GreenEdge    
DNF Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ.fr    
DNF David Millar (GBr) Garmin Sharp    
DNF Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin Sharp    
DNF Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Luca Dodi (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team    
DNF Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge    
DNF Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge    
DNF Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdge    
DNF Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica GreenEdge    
DNF Antoine Duchesne (Can) Team Europcar    
DNF Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano    
DNF Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha    
DNF Christopher Sutton (Aus) Team Sky    
DNF Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky    
DNF Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky    
DNF Nicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo    
DNF Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing    
DNF Carlos Jose Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Patrick Facchini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
DNF Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling    
DNF Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling    
DNF Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling    
DNF Martin Reimer (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka    
DNF Bradley Potgieter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka    
DNF Jonathan McEvoy (GBr) Team NetApp - Endura    
DNF Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp - Endura    
DNF Scott Thwaites (GBr) Team NetApp - Endura    
DNF Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp - Endura    
DNF Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
DNF James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
DNF Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
DNF Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise