Flanders Classics have announced that the final five kilometres of the men's and women's Gent-Wevelgem have been rerouted due to a fire in the city of Menen. Despite the late-race detour, which adds 1.1km to both routes, the races are expected to end at the same finish line in Wevelgem.
"Due to a fire at Galloo in Menen the passage through the city centre of Menen is suspended and the last 5km of the race are being replaced by an alternative route. This for both the men's and women's race. The finish in Wevelgem remains unchanged," race organisers stated.
“The security services are closely monitoring the situation concerning the fire near the arrival zone of Gent-Wevelgem. We will keep you updated.”
The announcement was made with approximately 90km to go in the men's race and before the women's race had started on the organiser's official Twitter feed.
The men's 247km race started in Ypres in the morning and at the time of the announcement there was a large breakaway that included Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
The men's race was routed over Scherpenberg (150km), Vidaigneberg (154km), Baneberg (156km), Monteberg (161km), Kemmelberg (Belvedère) (163km), Monteberg (193km), Kemmelberg (195km), Scherpenberg (202km), Vidaigneberg (207km), Baneberg (208km), Kemmelberg (213km), which all remained unchanged, before the 35km run-in to the finish where detour was set up in Menen to avoid the fire.
"Due to the route change in the final, the race will be 1,1 km longer resulting in a total of 248,6 km to be covered by the riders," race organisers confirmed.
The women's route was initially 141.7 kilometres, starting from Ypres' Menin Gate with several main climbs such as the Scherpenberg (61km), Vidaigneberg (65km), Beneberg (67km), Monteberg (72km), Kemelberg (74km), followed by another time up the Monteberg (104km) and Kemmelberg (106km), also unchanged, before a flat 35km run-in to the finish in Wevelgem.
Flanders Classic confirmed ahead of the start of the women's race at Ypres' Menin Gate that the detour meant the race would be 142.8km.
"5 minutes to go before the women leave the Menin Gate for a race of 142.8 km in Flanders Fields! That's 1.1 km more due to the change in the course caused by the fire in Menen!" organisers confirmed.
#GWEwomen 5 minutes to go before the women leave the Menin Gate for a race of 142.8 km in Flanders Fields! That's 1.1 km more due to the change in the course caused by the fire in Menen! 🚴🏻♀️ #GWE21March 28, 2021
Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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