Peter Sagan wins Gent-Wevelgem

World champion beats Viviani and Demare with perfect sprint finish

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) claimed his third Gent-Wevelgem title in impressive fashion with a comprehensive sprint win over Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ).

The World Champion rode a composed race and waited patiently for the final sprint as Quick-Step Floors set about controlling the race after the final ascent of the Kemmelberg. With strength in numbers Viviani came into the sprint as the favourite but the Italian was left boxed in after choosing to follow Matteo Trentin’s (Mitchelton-Scott) wheel. Sagan, meanwhile use his experience to drift onto Jasper Stuyven’s (Trek-Segaredo) left shoulder.

When the sprint opened up with just under 200m to go, Sagan had a clear road ahead of him, and the Bora rider drew his line to the left as Viviani was forced to come through the crowd and then around Démare. The Frenchman had a better line than Viviani but was left exposed when Sagan turned on the afterburners. Viviani found the strength to take second but the ground he conceded at the start of the sprint was too much to make up.

Two days ago, Sagan's form was questioned after he failed to impress in E3 Harelbeke. He may not even be at his very best but he was more than good enough to take the win in Wevelgem. With a week to go until Tour of Flanders, his rivals have been warned.

As for Viviani, the Italian slumped to the floor after crossing the line, a soigneur draping a jacket over his shoulders as the rider failed to fight back the tears of defeat. Until the final 500m, the De Panne winner had put in the perfect performance, making every key split, including the decisive one over the Kemmelberg.

Teammates Philippe Gilbert, Zdenek Stybar and Yves Lampaert all sacrificed their chances for him in the finale, with Gilbert the most impressive of the lot, with a huge turn on the front inside the final 5km. Their work was undone when was Viviani caught in the wheels. A split second of hesitation, saw him go around to the right and back onto Démare’s wheel but by the damage was done.

The role of Stuyven was pivotal. The Trek rider seemed to not only – through no fault of his own – lead out Sagan but also box in Viviani. This left the Quick-Step rider with no choice but to take the more difficult route through the sprint.

How it unfolded

The 174 starters rolled out of Deinze with the sun on their backs and relatively warm conditions for this time of the year. It took a while before a breakaway received space from the peloton but after half an hour of racing Brian van Goethem (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) and José Gonçalves (Katusha-Alpecin) took off. They were joined by Frederik Frison (Lotto-Soudal), and later also Filippo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates), Jimmy Duquennoy (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic) and Jan-Willem van Schip (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij).

At first, the peloton didn't relent, with the first hour of racing completed at 48 km/h. From there the lead for the six breakaway riders increased and topped nine minutes after 70 kilometres.

Without crosswind the passage through the flatlands of De Moeren didn’t result in a echelon fest but the gap between the leaders and the peloton slowly dropped to five minutes as they approached the first set of climbs. The fight for position started as the peloton swapped roads and main roads, which caused crashes and splits.

The decisive Kemmelberg

The six leaders still had an advantage of five minutes when they tackled the Kemmelberg for the first time. Quick-Step Floors led the peloton over the steep cobbled climb, and Philippe Gilbert accelerated to give a clear indication of both his form, and his team's desire to make the race.

Sixty kilometres from the finish, the first of three Plugstreets featured and BMC Racing charged to the front. The gap between the leaders and the peloton dropped down to three minutes on the first set of dirt roads. On the second plugstreet, the peloton started to stretch out under the pressure from Van Avermaet's men, and a lined-out peloton reached the final plugstreet 'The Catacombs' with almost half the field fighting to remain in contention.

Jelle Wallays launched the attack he had talked up in Lotto-Soudal pre-race press release, and with 200km raced the Belgian was joined by a small number of riders with Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) and Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) in the breakaway.

A few moments later that group was caught and suddenly Stybar, Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) and Stefan Küng (BMC) found themselves on the deck after a fall. Wallays didn't give up and featured in a new attempt to sneak away, combining forces with Julien Vermote (Dimension Data), Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha-Alpecin) and Alex Kirsch (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic). These four riders bridged up to the six leaders shortly after tackling the Baneberg climb, and just before the final ascent of the Kemmelberg.

With the race wide open Philippe Gilbert anticipated the Kemmelberg and gapped the peloton on the lower slopes. Sep Vanmarcke led the peloton over the cobbles with Trentin, Stybar marking his wheel. Gilbert seemed to have gear problems and his lead was vastly reduced by the time he crested the top with Vanmarcke the rest just a few bike lengths back.

Once over the tough climb, Roompot riders Brian van Goethem and Jan-Willem van Schip survived the Kemmelberg and joined up with Julien Vermote, Alex Kirsch, Jelle Wallays and Kuznetsov. Behind them, the big names combined forces, trying to make the race as hard as possible for John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff, who had both been left on the Kemmel.

On the main road towards Ypres, the Sagan and Gilbert group of 23 riders steamed through and brought back the group containing Vermote and Wallays. With almost 30 riders at the front of the race, and most of the sprint teams represented, there was little hope Kristoff and the rest making a return.

Roompot and Quick-Step Floors controlled the lead group an ensured that the pace was just high enough to keep the lead group from attacking, with Mitchelton-Scott also willing to work. Gilbert and Stybar were immense and closed down any thought of an attack with a final roll of the dice from Roompot neutralized in the closing stages.

Vanmarcke put in a late dash for the line but the Belgian was closed down as the sprinters readied themselves for the final push.


Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe5:53:37 
2Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors  
3Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ  
4Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
5Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
6Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
7Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott  
8Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors  
9Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
10Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
11Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
12Jan Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
13Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb  
14Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
15Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data  
16Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin  
17Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
18Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
19Brian van Goethem (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
20Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:00:05 
21Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:00:08 
22Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
23Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:12 
24Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team0:01:01 
25Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates  
26Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team0:01:14 
27Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:01:22 
28Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:49 
29Justin Jules (Fra) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic0:03:14 
30Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
31Alex Kirsch (Lux) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
32Edward Theuns (Bel) Team Sunweb0:03:17 
33Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
34Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb  
35Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
36Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
37Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
38Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
39Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors  
40Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
41Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
42Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
43Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
44Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe  
45Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky  
46Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
47Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Floors  
48John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo  
49Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida  
50Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
51Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij0:05:34 
52Rudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
53Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data  
54Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
55Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe  
56Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo  
57Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
58Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
59Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
60Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
61Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
62Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
63Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
64Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
65Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
66Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb  
67Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
68Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team  
69Zico Waeytens (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
70Owain Doull (GBr) Team Sky  
71Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ  
72Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
73Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team  
74Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
75Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team  
76Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team  
77Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
78Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing Team  
79Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
80Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky  
81Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
82Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
83Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team0:05:39 
84Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
85Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ  
86Jimmy Duquennoy (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
87Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ  
88Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
89Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team  
90Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
91Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
92Maarten Wynants (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo  
93Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
94Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
95Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
96Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
97Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
98Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
99Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky  
100Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott  
101Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
102Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale0:11:47 
103Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
104Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
105Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
106Benjamin King (USA) Dimension Data  
107Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
108Antoine Duchesne (Can) FDJ  
109Tanguy Turgis (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
110Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) FDJ  
111Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data  
112Bert De Backer (Bel) Vital Concept Club  
113Lukas Spengler (Swi) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
114Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
115Mark McNally (GBr) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
116Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
117Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
118Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
119Michaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
120Sjoerd van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
121Alberto Bettiol (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
122Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
123Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Sky  
124Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
125Julien Stassen (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
126Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
127Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates  
128Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin  
129David Per (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
130Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
131Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
132Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
133Nicolas Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data  
134Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
135Michael Goolaerts (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
136Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
137Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
138Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
139Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team  
140Thomas Leezer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
141Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
142Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe  
143Oscar Gatto (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
144Kenny Dehaes (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
145Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
146Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
147Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vital Concept Club  
148Dries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
149Julien Morice (Fra) Vital Concept Club0:11:56 
DNFJohan Le Bon (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
DNFMads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFWouter Wippert (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFGregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFSven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFAmaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFAndreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFRüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFKiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFLennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFMitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFDaniel McLay (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ  
DNFDaniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team  
DNFJordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFSenne Leysen (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFNikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb  
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFYoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
DNFJosé Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFMaxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
DNFLoic Chetout (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFBaptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNSTimothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  

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