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Gallery: Memorable moments in Gent-Welvegem

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Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) holds Yoann Offredo (FDJ) after a crash in Gent-Wevelgem

Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) holds Yoann Offredo (FDJ) after a crash in Gent-Wevelgem
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) introduced at the 2012 Gent-Wevelgem.

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) introduced at the 2012 Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The peloton rides through Cassel

The peloton rides through Cassel
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Boonen seems surprised to win the 2012 Gent-Wevelgem

Tom Boonen seems surprised to win the 2012 Gent-Wevelgem
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Boonen takes Gent-Wevelgem win number two in 2011

Tom Boonen takes Gent-Wevelgem win number two in 2011
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ian Stannard puts in an attack in 2011.

Ian Stannard puts in an attack in 2011.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Thomas Voeckler tried to get away in the 2011 edition.

Thomas Voeckler tried to get away in the 2011 edition.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Thomas Voeckler goes on the attack in 2011

Thomas Voeckler goes on the attack in 2011
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Boonen celebrates win number three in Gent-Wevelgem in 2012

Tom Boonen celebrates win number three in Gent-Wevelgem in 2012
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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George Hincapie (US Postal) beat Leon van Bon (Mercury) in a close sprint in 2001

George Hincapie (US Postal) beat Leon van Bon (Mercury) in a close sprint in 2001
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone) put in one of his best ever performances to win the race in 2002. The same year he claimed the Worlds title

Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone) put in one of his best ever performances to win the race in 2002. The same year he claimed the Worlds title
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step-Davitamon) was a leadout man for Tom Boonen in 2004

Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step-Davitamon) was a leadout man for Tom Boonen in 2004
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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The ever-consistent Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo)

The ever-consistent Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) goes on the attack in the rain

Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) goes on the attack in the rain
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Marcus Burghardt and Roger Hammond bossed the race in 2007

Marcus Burghardt and Roger Hammond bossed the race in 2007
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Matthew White was the Discovery leader in 2007

Matthew White was the Discovery leader in 2007
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Bernhard Eisel (Team HTC - Columbia) won the race in 2009

Bernhard Eisel (Team HTC - Columbia) won the race in 2009
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Andreas Klier (Team Telekom) on the podium in 2003

Andreas Klier (Team Telekom) on the podium in 2003
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Nicolas Jalabert riding for (Phonak) in 2004

Nicolas Jalabert riding for (Phonak) in 2004
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Tom Boonen wins the race in 2011. He only rode in order to gain his struggling QuickStep team valuable WorldTour points

Tom Boonen wins the race in 2011. He only rode in order to gain his struggling QuickStep team valuable WorldTour points
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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2005 World Champion and defending Gent-Wevelgem winner, Tom Boonen

2005 World Champion and defending Gent-Wevelgem winner, Tom Boonen
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) was caught before the line in 2005 but hung on for second.

Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) was caught before the line in 2005 but hung on for second.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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A young Rory Sutherland in his Rabobank days in 2005

A young Rory Sutherland in his Rabobank days in 2005
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Stuart O’Grady suffers on the Kemmel in 2005

Stuart O’Grady suffers on the Kemmel in 2005
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Giancarlo Ferretti's Fassa Bortolo team always rode aggressively in Gent-Wevelgem

Giancarlo Ferretti's Fassa Bortolo team always rode aggressively in Gent-Wevelgem
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Andreas Klier, one of the most respected Classics riders in the bunch, and former race winner, takes a tumble

Andreas Klier, one of the most respected Classics riders in the bunch, and former race winner, takes a tumble
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Thor Hushovd, once of Crédit Agricole, riders on the cobbles

Thor Hushovd, once of Crédit Agricole, riders on the cobbles
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Blast from the past: Ivan Quaranta (Domina Vacanze) in 2005. He didn't finish the race

Blast from the past: Ivan Quaranta (Domina Vacanze) in 2005. He didn't finish the race
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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2003: Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze) was immediately disqualified by the commissaires and fined 200 Swiss francs for throwing two water bottles at a BWB representative, when the latter tried to pass him with 37 km to go. At that stage, Cipollini was off the back of the leading group after a crash, and talking to his team director in the car. He heard the beep of the horn from the motorcycle behind, looked around angrily, and threw two bottles at the moto rider as he went past.

2003: Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze) was immediately disqualified by the commissaires and fined 200 Swiss francs for throwing two water bottles at a BWB representative, when the latter tried to pass him with 37 km to go. At that stage, Cipollini was off the back of the leading group after a crash, and talking to his team director in the car. He heard the beep of the horn from the motorcycle behind, looked around angrily, and threw two bottles at the moto rider as he went past.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Nico Mattan made use of some handy motorbike drafting to catch Flecha and beat him by two seconds

Nico Mattan made use of some handy motorbike drafting to catch Flecha and beat him by two seconds
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Nico Mattan winning in 2005

Nico Mattan winning in 2005
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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After a very tense finish to the 68th Gent-Wevelgem, Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) grabbed his second win of the season, beating David Kopp (Gerolsteiner) and Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) in a small bunch sprint.

After a very tense finish to the 68th Gent-Wevelgem, Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) grabbed his second win of the season, beating David Kopp (Gerolsteiner) and Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) in a small bunch sprint.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Great teamwork from T-Mobile helped Marcus Burghardt win in 2007. It was his first win as a pro rider

Great teamwork from T-Mobile helped Marcus Burghardt win in 2007. It was his first win as a pro rider
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Oscar Freire wins the race in 2008 ahead of Aurélien Clerc and Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step). A young Cavendish finished 17th in the sprint

Oscar Freire wins the race in 2008 ahead of Aurélien Clerc and Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step). A young Cavendish finished 17th in the sprint
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone) bridged the gap to Hincapie, Rodriguez and Hendrik Van Dyck

Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone) bridged the gap to Hincapie, Rodriguez and Hendrik Van Dyck
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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2003: Andreas Klier (Telekom) becomes the first German to win Gent-Wevelgem in its 69 year history, winning a five man sprint from Henk Vogels (Navigators) and Tom Boonen (Quick.Step).

2003: Andreas Klier (Telekom) becomes the first German to win Gent-Wevelgem in its 69 year history, winning a five man sprint from Henk Vogels (Navigators) and Tom Boonen (Quick.Step).
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen wins the race in 2009. In his post-race press conference he admitted he'd never heard of Sean Kelly

Edvald Boasson Hagen wins the race in 2009. In his post-race press conference he admitted he'd never heard of Sean Kelly
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Viatcheslav Ekimov (US Postal-Berry Floor) suffers on the Kemmelberg in 2003

Viatcheslav Ekimov (US Postal-Berry Floor) suffers on the Kemmelberg in 2003
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Tom Steels spent two years with the Landbouwkrediet - Colnago team. Pictured here in 2003

Tom Steels spent two years with the Landbouwkrediet - Colnago team. Pictured here in 2003
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Danilo Hondo riders as German national road champion

Danilo Hondo riders as German national road champion
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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2003 and world champion Mario Cipollini rides with Johan Museeuw

2003 and world champion Mario Cipollini rides with Johan Museeuw
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Before his Tour de France in 2009, Bradley Wiggins rode a number of Classics, including Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix

Before his Tour de France in 2009, Bradley Wiggins rode a number of Classics, including Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Dom Rollin on the Kemmel in 2009.

Dom Rollin on the Kemmel in 2009.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Manuel Quinziato on the attack in 2009. He's now part of the BMC team

Manuel Quinziato on the attack in 2009. He's now part of the BMC team
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Julian Dean (Garmin) crashes out of the race

Julian Dean (Garmin) crashes out of the race
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Petacchi and Zabel on the same Milram team in 2006

Petacchi and Zabel on the same Milram team in 2006
(Image credit: Sirotti)

Dubbed the ‘Sprinters’ Classic’ Gent-Wevelgem is one of the most hotly anticipated and important races in the Spring calendar. Over the past few years it has seen a number of changes affect its course, date and distance but the sight of the pro peloton riding over the Kemmelberg remains one of the most iconic snapshots of the spring.

In this gallery, Cyclingnews looks back at some of the most memorable moments from the last decade: from disqualifications to crashes, sprints to breakaways.

In the last few years the race has seen a number of course and date modifications but it remains a major target and highlight of the Spring. Last year Tom Boonen took his third career victory here, but after a less than optimal performance in the E3 Harelbeke, his name will not be at the top of the favourites' list. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) will look to get revenge for being tightly marked in Friday's finale.

The race has seen some of the best Classics action in recent years. From George Hincapie wining a close sprint in 2001 to the memorable edition of 2002 when Mario Cipollini chased down a dangerous break – that included Hincapie – and won the sprint. That year Cipollini would win a far less entertaining Worlds but his ride in Gent-Wevelgem was a welcome reminder that he was more than just a sprinter reliant on his lead-out train.

A year later though and Cipollini was lacking form and fitness. After a crash and subsequent visit to the team car he threw two water bottles at race car when it attempted to pass him. Once over the finish line the world champion was rightly disqualified and fined the minuscule amount of 200 Swiss francs.

The following year in 2004 and the race saw Tom Boonen win the bunch sprint. Having been left frustrated the previous weekend in Flanders the Belgian made up for it with his first win in Wevelgem.

In 2005 the race saw controversy. Juan Antonio Flecha looked set to win the race with a bold attack but Nico Mattan had other ideas and set about chasing the Fassa rider. Only with the assistance of some dodgy drafting from race motorbikes was Mattan able to close the gap and overhaul the Argentine before the line.

Thor Hushovd took the sprint in 2006, and Marcus Burghardt won his first professional victory here in 2007 before Oscar Freire got revenge for Flecha's loss and became the first Spaniard to win in 2008. The following year, the young Edvald Boasson Hagen showed his burgeoning talent with a win from a two-man breakaway that went clear on the Kemmelberg.

The Kemmelberg proved decisive again in 2010, when a small group went clear and the sprint was won by Bernhard Eisel. A much larger group came together to the line in 2011, when Boonen took his second win. The sprint was a bit smaller last year, but Boonen kicked off his Classics season domination with a third win, this time over the emerging talent, Peter Sagan.

Gent Wevelgem 2006

Gent Wevelgem 2007

Gent Wevelgem 2008

Gent Wevelgem 2009

Gent Wevelgem 2010

Gent Wevelgem 2011

Gent Wevelgem 2012