Lotta Lepisto wins Gent-Wevelgem

Cervelo Bigla rider wins in Belgium

Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) sprinted to victory in Wevelgem on Sunday to win the fourth round of the UCI Women's WorldTour. The Finnish champion bested Jolien D'hoore (Wiggle High5) and Trofeo Binda winner Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) for the top step of the Gent-Wevelgem podium.

"This race was my goal," said Lepistö. "I was focused on winning it. It's a race that suits me and last year I was close but made a mistake. I told myself that won't happen again, so today I made sure I was in the front. Flanders is Flanders, and anything can happen but this was my goal. We agreed to target today and I got it. I am really satisfied."

The one-day Belgian classic, running over many of the same roads used by the men's race, ended in a bunch kick of more than 40 riders. The group formed over the hilly middle section of the 146km day. Despite relentless attacks during the final 40 kilometres, the reduced peloton remained tightly grouped.

The race, now in its fourth running, had never ended in more than a three-rider move prior to Sunday.

"We had five girls in the front group," noted Lepistö. "They did an amazing job. Stephie [Pohl] did the lead outs to the Kemmelberg, Marie [Vilmann] our climber here in Flanders, attacked after the climbs to put pressure on the group, Cecilie [Uttrup Ludwig] waited for me in the climbs and brought me to the front because I wanted to ride them at my own pace. She covered a million attacks.

"Lisa [Klein] is my tandem, she is always with me," Lepistö continued. "Ashleigh [Moolman Paiso] coming back from injury and being in all the attacks and keeping me calm. She always has the right things to say, telling me to relax, it's not my turn to go into a group. [Team manager] Thomas [Campana] in the car had a really good tactic and believed in us. This is another team victory."

While Lepistö won Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, her victory on Sunday is a historic win for her Swiss-registered squad. The rejuvenated Cérvelo-Bigla team, launched three years ago under the direction of Campana, had never won a World Cup or Women's WorldTour race – until today.

"The success is overwhelming for me and the staff," said Campana. "We're very happy that the riders we've developed over the years are winning and our talent scouting is working. For us it's important to develop step by step. The talent we signed three years ago is starting to win big now, in front of some big riders."

How it unfolded

The fourth edition of Gent-Wevelgem started under sunny skies in Ieper. The peloton was relatively inactive during the four opening laps, and an intact bunch headed for the hills that were grouped together mid-race.

The first ascent of the Kemmelberg split the peloton slightly. The descent toward the Monteberg did further damage. Up and over the second climb of the day, three distinct groups had formed with 20 seconds separating the first two.

The splits were small enough for a re-grouping to occur before the Baneberg, the day's third climb. Around 50 riders hit the bottom of the second trip up the Kemmelberg together.

Although a few riders were unable to maintain contact over the Kemmelberg-Monteberg combination, the group largely stayed together. With the hills finished, the reduced bunch had only flat roads and some wind to contend with en route to Wevelgem.

Marie Villman, Lepistö's teammate, launched an attack with 25 kilometres remaining. She gained a maximum of 10 seconds before the peloton brought her back. Next, a group of six tried to slip away. They too were neutralised by the peloton.

Former winner Floortjej Mackaij (Team Sunweb) then escaped with Alice Barnes (Drops). Olympic road champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) and Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) were the next to go up the road. Neither pairing could gain more than 400 metres.

Fifteen kilometres from the finish, Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) initiated a move that included UCI Women's WorldTour leader Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5), Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb) and Katrin Garfoot (Orica-Scott). The quartet succeeded in gaining 10-seconds over the bunch.

When Arlenis Sierra (Astana) and Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini) bridged across, Majerus was told to stop working. As the Luxembourgish champion skipped pulls, the others did, too, quickly spelling the end of the move.

Janneke Ensing (Alé Cipollini) jumped four kilometres from the finish. Olga Zabelinskaya (BePink Cogeas) marked the move. The pair were caught with two kilometres still to race, and the reduced bunch readied for the sprint. Lepistö bided her time to come away with the win.

"The finish was hectic. There was headwind, and I was waiting, waiting, waiting," said Lepistö. "In the final 100 metres, I was just pushing as hard as I could. It hurt my lungs, my legs, everywhere."

The Women's WorldTour continues next weekend with the Tour of Flanders.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team3:53:54 
2Jolien D'Hoore (Bel) Wiggle High5  
3Coryn Rivera (USA) Team Sunweb Women  
4Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé Cipollini  
5Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Canyon SRAM Racing  
6Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Lensworld-Kuota  
7Alice Barnes (GBr) Drops Cycling Team  
8Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam  
9Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon SRAM Racing  
10Sheyla Gutiérrez (Spa) Cylance Pro Cycling  
11Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica Scott Women  
12Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Lensworld-Kuota  
13Olga Zabelinskaya (Rus) BePink Cogeas  
14Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica Scott Women  
15Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon SRAM Racing  
16Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
17Anouska Koster (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling  
18Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Astana Women's Team  
19Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Pro Cycling  
20Janneke Ensing (Ned) Alé Cipollini  
21Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam  
22Kelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx  
23Lisa Klein (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
24Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana  
25Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica Scott Women  
26Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam  
27Alison Jackson (Can) BePink Cogeas  
28Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana0:00:04 
29Lucinda Brand (Ned) Team Sunweb Women  
30Hanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City Ljubljana  
31Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) Cervélo­Bigla Pro Cycling  
32Roxane Knetemann (Ned) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
33Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Team Sunweb Women  
34Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle High5  
35Audrey Cordon (Fra) Wiggle High50:00:06 
36Anna Zita Maria Stricker (Ita) BTC City Ljubljana  
37Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Sunweb Women0:00:12 
38Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
39Marie Vilmann (Den) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
40Romy Kasper (Ger) Alé Cipollini  
41Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Cylance Pro Cycling  
42Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5  
43Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:00:27 
44Daniela Gass (Ger) Servetto Giusta0:07:08 
45Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products  
46Celine Van Severen (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx  
47Roos Hoogeboom (Ned) Bizkaia­Durango  
48Kaat Van Der Meulen (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
49Annelies Dom (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
50Sara Mustonen­Lichan (Swe) Team Veloconcept Women  
51Sara Penton (Swe) Team Veloconcept Women  
52Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling  
53Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Astana Women's Team  
54Kaat Hannes (Bel) Lensworld-Kuota  
55Lourdes Oyarbide (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango  
56Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Drops Cycling Team  
57Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
58Natalie Van Gogh (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
59Daniela Reis (Por) Lares-Waowdeals  
60Eva Buurman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
61Demi De Jong (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
62Natalya Saifutdinova (Kaz) Astana Women's Team  
63Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
64Nathalie Verschelden (Bel) Lensworld-Kuota  
65Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Sunweb Women  
66Irena Ossola (USA) SAS - MACOGEP  
67Julie Leth (Den) Wiggle High5  
68Laura Camila Lozano (Col) Servetto Giusta  
69Spela Kern (Slo) Bizkaia-Durango  
70Sarah Inghelbrecht (Bel) Lares-Waowdeals  
71Julia Soek (Ned) Team Sunweb Women  
72Katia Ragusa (Ita) BePink Cogeas  
73Nina Buysman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg ­ Destil Cycling Team  
74Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle High5  
75Abby­Mae Parkinson (GBr) Drops Cycling Team  
76Willeke Knol (Ned) Cylance Pro Cycling  
77Amalie Dideriksen (Den) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam  
78Makhabbat Umutzhanova (Kaz) Astana Women's Team  
79Rossella Ratto (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling  
80Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling  
81Roxane Fournier (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
82Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Lensworld-Kuota  
83Lorena Llamas (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango  
84Esra Tromp (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
85Simona Frapporti (Ita) Hitec Products  
86Sarah Rijkes (Aut) Lares-Waowdeals  
87Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) BePink Cogeas  
88Chloe Hosking (Aus) Alé Cipollini  
89Anna Potokina (Rus) Servetto Giusta  
90Asja Paladin (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo  
91Thalita De Jong (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals  
92Lisa Morzenti (Ita) Astana Women's Team  
93Jip Van Den Bos (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam  
94Jessica Allen (Aus) Orica Scott Women  
95Moniek Tenniglo (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling  
96Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica Scott Women  
97Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica Scott Women  
98Coralie Demay (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
99Stephanie Pohl (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
100Trixi Worrack (Ger) Canyon SRAM Racing  
101Aude Biannic (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
102Joëlle Numainville (Can) Cylance Pro Cycling0:07:16 
DNFMarjolaine Bazin (Fra) SAS - MACOGEP  
DNFBeatrice Rossato (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo  
DNFMichela Pavin (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo  
DNFAna Maria Covrig (Rom) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo  
DNFElena Leonardi (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo  
DNFBeatrice Bartelloni (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo  
DNFJelena Eric (Srb) BTC City Ljubljana  
DNFUrša Pintar (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana  
DNFAnisha Vekemans (Bel) Alé Cipollini  
DNFAnna Trevisi (Ita) Alé Cipollini  
DNFMilagro Mena (CRc) SAS ­ Macogep  
DNFSoline Lamboley (Fra) SAS - MACOGEP  
DNFLara Vieceli (Ita) Astana Women's Team  
DNFSilvia Valsecchi (Ita) BePink Cogeas  
DNFMaria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) BePink Cogeas  
DNFAnnabel Simpson (GBr) Drops Cycling Team  
DNFRebecca Durrell (GBr) Drops Cycling Team  
DNFAnn­Sophie Duyck (Bel) Drops Cycling Team  
DNFYessica Pérez (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango  
DNFPaola Munoz (Chi) Bizkaia-Durango  
DNFIris Sachet (Fra) SAS - MACOGEP  
DNFEmilie Rochedy (Fra) SAS - MACOGEP  
DNFKarlijn Swinkels (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
DNFThea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products  
DNFElise Delzenne (Fra) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFValerie Demey (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx  
DNFJessy Druyts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx  
DNFFien Delbaere (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx  
DNFKelly Druyts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx  
DNFMaaike Polspoel (Bel) Lensworld-Kuota  
DNFAmelie Rivat (Fra) Lares-Waowdeals  
DNFKelly Markus (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals  
DNFLauren Kitchen (Aus) WM3 Pro Cycling  
DNFValentina Scandolara (Ita) WM3 Pro Cycling  
DNFJessie Daams (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFTrine Schmidt (Den) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFNina Kessler (Ned) Hitec Products  
DNFCharlotte Becker (Ger) Hitec Products  
DNFSusanne Andersen (Nor) Hitec Products  
DNFTing Ying Huang (Tpe) Servetto Giusta  
DNFKseniia Dobrynina (Rus) Servetto Giusta  
DNFBarbara Guarischi (Ita) Canyon SRAM Racing  
DNFAlena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon SRAM Racing  
DNFClaudia Koster (Ned) Team Veloconcept Women  
DNFChristina Siggaard (Den) Team Veloconcept Women  
DNFPernille Mathiesen (Den) Team Veloconcept Women  
DNSCamilla Møllebro (Den) Team Veloconcept Women  

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