Boonen sprints to victory

Bennati, Farrar round out top three in final dash

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) silenced his critics on Sunday at Gent-Wevelgem by winning the sprint ahead of Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek) and Tyler Farrar (Team Garmin-Cervelo) and show that he is on form just a week before the Tour of Flanders.

Gent-Wevelgem is known as the sprinters’ classic but in recent years the breakaways had held off the chasers to steal victory. This year was close, with attacks holding out until sight of the line but despite mechanical problems early in the race, Boonen showed he is still fast in a sprint.

“This race used to be a big goal for me each season but then year after year I focused more and more on the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. But I’m proud to have won it because it wasn’t an easy day for me.” Boonen explained.

“It seemed that everything was going wrong before it went right. I had a mechanical problem at the foot of the first climb and that forced me to wait a long time to get service. It was definitely more than a minute.”

“It’s true that I’d have preferred to ride the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke but my team wanted me to ride here. I under stand the reasons and know that the team’s interests are more important than mine. Thanks to this success our team has scored some important ranking points.”

“Fabian won on Saturday and is in great shape but I’ve won today and my form is getting better and better after being illness slowed me before Milan-San Remo. I’m ready for the Tour of Flanders.”

The early action

The skies were overcast and the air chilly in Deinze before the start of the race, but with little wind on the menu, there was no shortage of riders trying to leaving the safety of the peloton. Consequently, the opening section on the flat roads towards the coast was run off at a breakneck pace, with the bunch covering a shade under 52km in the first hour of racing.

The elastic finally snapped soon afterwards, when French champion Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) sparked a move and dragged away Bram Schmitz (Veranda's Willems – Accent), Romain Zingle (Cofidis), Steven Van Vooren (Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano) with him for company. After the break reached its maximum lead of five minutes after 70km, the redoubtable Voeckler took matters in hand to ensure they stayed out there by going to the front and driving the group.

With the race passing into France twice to hit the climb of the Catsberg, Voeckler was certainly not short on motivation, but he soon demonstrated that his escape was by no means a mere exercise in showing off the jersey, and he surged to the head of the group as soon as the road went upwards. That immediately put Schmitz and Timmer in trouble and they were dropped on the second ascent of the Catsberg (154km), as the gap to the peloton slipped down to 2:20.

Behind, there was a moment of panic for Tom Boonen (Quick Step) when he suffered a mechanical problem on the climb and after a long delay he was forced to chase back on in the company of Kevin Van Impe. Like Fabian Cancellara at the previous day’s E3 Prijs, Boonen made it safely back to the peloton but the Belgian used up a lot of valuable energy in his pursuit. Yet it also seemed to be a source of extra motivation.

The next man to suffer misfortune was Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), when he punctured at the foot of the Kemmelberg, just as Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) hit the front of the climb. The Belgian’s brief show of forcing sent ripples through the peloton, and that reshuffling of the pack would ultimately contribute to sparking a short-lived but dangerous move.

After the next climb of the Monteberg, George Hincapie (Team BMC), Matt Hayman (Team Sky), Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank) and Geoffroy Lequatre (RadioShack) managed to forge clear of the bunch, and they were soon joined by the in-form Gilbert, Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo), Maxim Iglinsky (Astana), Jelle Wallays (Topsport-Vlaanderen) and Gert Steegmans (Quick Step).

A break featuring Gilbert and Hushovd was never going to be allowed to simply ride away, however, and they were soon reeled back in once Rabobank and Saxo Bank got themselves organised behind, and the pace ratcheted up in the bunch as it approached the decisive second ascent of the Kemmelberg with 41km to go.

Sagan lights up the finale

The cobbled climb is often the key to Gent-Wevelgem and Thomas Voeckler managed to rid himself of his remaining breakaway companions and crest the summit alone. But the peloton was now just 40 seconds behind and closing at pace. In the main group, Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) showed his hand on the Kemmelberg with a brief burst that was closely watched by Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky). His effort was enough to force another brief selection over the summit of the climb, with Hushovd, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) among those keeping tabs on the young Slovak.

Once Voeckler was swallowed up after the fast descent of the Kemmelberg, there was a brief regrouping behind but then Sagan jumped again ahead of the final climb of the Monteberg, with 35km to go. This time he was joined by his teammate Maciej Bodnar, Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step). The quartet soon opened a 30 second lead thanks to some smooth collaboration.

Gilbert made an abortive attempt to bridge alone but then the large group behind finally began to organise itself with HTC-Highroad and Omega Pharma-Lotto sharing the load. HTC were riding for Cavendish who had got back after his mechanical. Thomas Voeckler was also lending a hand, but with Sagan and Chavanel driving hard up front, the gap grew to 42 seconds with 26km to go.

Cavendish crashes out of contention

While Sagan and company were continuing their move off the front of the bunch, disaster struck one of the other pre-race favourites, when Cavendish crashed at the rear of the bunch. The Manxman couldn’t hide his frustration at missing out on the chance at a classic win in such banal circumstances, and even though he began to chase alone, he must have known that his race was over.

The crash split the front group and gave the four attackers extra hope of success. However while Cavendish lost any chance of victory, Gilbert became more convinced of his chances as did BMC, who also worked hard to pull the quartet back.

The long straight roads of the finale to Wevelgem allowed the chasers to see the four riders up the road and the race turned into a pursuit match.

The gap fell second by second but the kilometres were also down to single figures and the race could have gone either way. With five kilometres to go the gap was down to single figures and Bodnar sat up after giving his all to help teammate Sagan. The prodigious Slovakian rider would have been favourite for the sprint but the now 30-strong bunch was closing on them.

Stannard knew it was better to risk it all than sit back and be swept up. He jumped away with two kilometres to go and dropped Sagan and Chavanel. As he speeded under the one kilometre to go banner, it looked like he could do it. But then the long straight road to the finish seemed to drain his legs. Suddenly the sprinters were on him and swamped him with just 150 metres to go.

Farrar opened up the sprint but Boonen had a better lead out from Steegmans and timed his acceleration better. He hit the front and held his speed all the way to the line.

He had admitted he no longer loved bunch sprints but he loved winning Gent-Wevelgem. Suddenly his season was back on track. Quick Step would no longer be last in the UCI ranking and Boonen had responded to Fabian Cancellara. Bring on the Tour of Flanders.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team4:35:00 
2Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek  
3Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
4André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
5Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
6Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano  
7Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Highroad  
8Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
9Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
10Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard  
11Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ  
12Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
13Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
14Tiziano Dall'antonia (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
15Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
16Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar  
17Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ  
18Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
19Robert Hunter (RSA) Team RadioShack  
20Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
21Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad  
22Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
23Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
24Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team  
25Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale  
26Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
27Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - ISD  
28Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar  
29Grégory Rast (Swi) Team RadioShack  
30George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team  
31Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
32Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
33Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling  
34Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
35Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling  
36Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:09 
37Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Team RadioShack  
38Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard  
39Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank Sungard  
40Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
41Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
42Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:14 
43Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:16 
44Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:20 
45Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
46Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale  
47Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:23 
48Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
49Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:28 
50Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:44 
51Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:00:55 
52Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
53Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:02:42 
54Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
55Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
56Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent0:03:15 
57Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:03:17 
58Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team0:03:18 
59Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
60Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad  
61Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
62Saïd Haddou (Fra) Team Europcar  
63Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team RadioShack  
64Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha Team  
65Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
66Allan Davis (Aus) Pro Team Astana  
67Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team  
68Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling  
69Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team  
70Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
71Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
72Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
73Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
74Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre - ISD  
75Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team RadioShack  
76Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
77Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
78Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet  
79Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana  
80Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShack  
81Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling Team  
82Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
83Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team  
84Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Saxo Bank Sungard0:11:28 
85Michael Morkov (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
86Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha Team  
87Kevin Ista (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
88Matti Helminen (Fin) Landbouwkrediet  
89Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
90Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
91Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
92Yann Huguet (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
93Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
94Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
95Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
96Dmytro Krivtsov (Ukr) Lampre - ISD  
97Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
98Dieter Cappelle (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
99Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team  
100Romain Lemarchand (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
101Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
102Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team  
103Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha Team  
104Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
105Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD  
106Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
107Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
108Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
109Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
110John Murphy (USA) BMC Racing Team  
111Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana  
112Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ  
113Steven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
114Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
115Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Procycling  
116Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team  
117Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShack  
118Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShack  
119Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
120Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
121Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Procycling  
122Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank Sungard  
123Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
124Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling  
125Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling  
126Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar  
127Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJ  
128Carlos Oyarzun (Chi) Movistar Team  
129Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ  
130Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
131Sven Van Den Houte (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
132Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar  
133José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Movistar Team  
134Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar Team  
135Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team0:16:30 
136Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team  
137Adam Hansen (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
138Danny Pate (USA) HTC-Highroad  
139Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
140Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
141Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
142Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
143Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
144Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
145Steven Caethoven (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
146Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
147Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
148Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team  
149Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
150Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
151Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
152Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
153Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
154Roger Hammond (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
155Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team  
156Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
157Edward King (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale  
158Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet  
159Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
DNFMatthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad  
DNFAlex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad  
DNFMark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad  
DNFMatt Brammeier (Irl) HTC-Highroad  
DNFAdam Blyth (GBr) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
DNFJurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
DNFDominic Klemme (Ger) Leopard Trek  
DNFStuart O'grady (Aus) Leopard Trek  
DNFJoost Posthuma (Ned) Leopard Trek  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard Trek  
DNFMartin Mortensen (Den) Leopard Trek  
DNFRobert Wagner (Ger) Leopard Trek  
DNFWouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek  
DNFJeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling  
DNFAssan Bazayev (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
DNFMaxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
DNFSimon Clarke (Aus) Pro Team Astana  
DNFMirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana  
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFVladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha Team  
DNFSébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFVitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre - ISD  
DNFVitaliy Kondrut (Ukr) Lampre - ISD  
DNFBalint Szeghalmi (Hun) Lampre - ISD  
DNFBobbie Traksel (Ned) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFSébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFRob Goris (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
DNFJean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
DNFBram Schmitz (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
DNFOlivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMatthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
DNFRoger Kluge (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNSAliaksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Katusha Team  

Related Articles

Back to top