March 29, 2015, Deinze, Belgium, Road - WorldTour

While the tendency for so many cobbled races is to reflect the challenges of the Tour of Flanders as closely as possible, Gent-Wevelgem holds resolutely to its own identity as a day that gives the sprinters more than a puncher’s chance of landing victory.

That is in due in no small part to the parcours. Whereas so many races criss-cross the postage stamp of Flemish Ardennes around Oudenaarde, Gent-Wevelgem heads towards the cobbles and hills of West Flanders – and, of course, its exposed flatlands. Two laps over the Baneberg-Kemmelberg-Monteberg combination pose the principal difficulty of the day in terms of climbing, but crosswinds as the race loops towards the Franco-Belgian border early on, also have the habit of turning Gent-Wevelgem into a far stiffer test than it appears on paper.

Some 34 kilometres separate the final ascent of the Monteberg from the finish, and solo winners in Wevelgem are a relative rarity, at least compared to other Flemish classics. Instead, Gent-Wevelgem is a tough, attritional event, as the sprinters endeavour to survive echelon after echelon, selection after selection, on the 239 kilometre trek through some of the battlefields of the First World War.

The weather forecast for Sunday is rather grim. Rain and wind is expected to be general all over West Flanders for the duration and, so the thinking goes, the bleaker the conditions, the smaller the leading group at the finish. 

Gent-Wevelgem 2014 | Gent-Wevelgem 2013 | Gent-Wevelgem 2012 | Past winners  

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