Degenkolb wins Gent-Wevelgem

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

1John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano5:34:37 
2Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr  
3Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale  
4Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
5Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
6Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
7Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha  
8Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale  
9Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team  
10Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
11Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha  
12Sam Bennett (Irl) Team NetApp - Endura  
13Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar  
14Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
15Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
16Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
17Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
18Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
19Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing  
20Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
21Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team  
22Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team  
23Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky  
24Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky  
25Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
26Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ.fr  
27Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
28Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
29Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:04 
30Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:00:06 
31Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
32Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:09 
33Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale0:00:10 
34Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
35Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:16 
36Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
37Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge0:00:19 
38Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing  
39Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol  
40Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing  
41Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team  
42Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team Katusha  
43Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
44Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
45Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
46Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
47Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
48Steve Chainel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
49Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
50Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
51Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
52Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling  
53Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:27 
54Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp - Endura  
55Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol  
56Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr  
57Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
58Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
59Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team  
60Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
61Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
62Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Androni Giocattoli  
63Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin Sharp  
64Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
65Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team  
66Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
67Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
68Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing  
69Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
70Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
71Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
72Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
73Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
74Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
75Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
76Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale  
77Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale  
78Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale  
79Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:02:08 
80Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:02:27 
81Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
82Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:02:39 
83Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp - Endura0:03:27 
84Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:04:07 
85Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
86Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:04:28 
87Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
88Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
89Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing  
90Blaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp - Endura  
91Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
92Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar  
93Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing  
94Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
95Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
96Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale  
97Nicola Testi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
98Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
99Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano  
100Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
101Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
102Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
103Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN - Qhubeka  
104Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha  
105Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
106Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
107Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha  
108Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
109William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr  
110Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr  
111Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
112Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky  
113Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
114Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
115Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
116Nick Nuyens (Bel) Garmin Sharp  
117Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli  
118David Boucher (Fra) FDJ.fr0:08:11 
119Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
120Edward King (USA) Cannondale  
121Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar  
122Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
123Jay Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
124José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team  
125Andrea Zordan (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
126Kevyn Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling  
127Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar  
128Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
129Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
130Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol  
131Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp  
132Rudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha0:13:04 
133Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
134Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
135Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
136Tim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
137Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge  
138Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale  
139Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
140Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
141Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida  
142Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:14:29 
143Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team  
144Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC Racing Team  
145Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
146Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.fr  
147Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team Katusha  
148Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
149Maxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
150Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
151Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
152Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
153Edwig Cammaerts (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNSSvein Tuft (Can) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFDmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFRick Flens (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMaarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
DNFAnthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ.fr  
DNFDavid Millar (GBr) Garmin Sharp  
DNFJohan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin Sharp  
DNFNiccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFLuca Dodi (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFFilippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFKris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFAndré Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol  
DNFFrederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFAlex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
DNFFrancisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFLuke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFMatthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFJens Mouris (Ned) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFAntoine Duchesne (Can) Team Europcar  
DNFMorgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFYannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFReinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNFLuca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha  
DNFChristopher Sutton (Aus) Team Sky  
DNFLuke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFIan Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFNicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFHayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFCarlos Jose Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFPatrick Facchini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFLouis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFHeinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
DNFSébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling  
DNFMatteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling  
DNFMartin Reimer (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFBradley Potgieter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFJonathan McEvoy (GBr) Team NetApp - Endura  
DNFDaniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp - Endura  
DNFScott Thwaites (GBr) Team NetApp - Endura  
DNFPaul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp - Endura  
DNFDanilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFJames Vanlandschoot (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFYves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  

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