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Gent-Wevelgem moved to Sunday before Tour of Flanders

Markus Burghardt sets the tempo on the first trip up the Kemmelberg

Markus Burghardt sets the tempo on the first trip up the Kemmelberg (Image credit: Tim Van Wichelen)

The Spring Classic Gent-Wevelgem will get a more prestigious spot on the world calendar in 2010 when it moves from the Wednesday after the Ronde Van Vlaanderen to the Sunday before it. The race will take the position previously held by the UCI 1.1-classified Brabantse Pijl

According to UCI ProTour director Alain Rumpf, the change is part of a larger reshuffling of the series of Flemish races known as Vlaamse Wielerweek by the Belgian Cycling Federation. Other moves includes shifting Brabantse Pijl (Flèche Brabançonne) to the Wednesday after Paris-Roubaix and moving the Scheldeprijs (Grand Prix de l'Escaut) to the spot previously held by Gent-Wevelgem.

"The goal is to make the calendar more logical from a technical point of view: Flèche Brabançonne is a good transition to the Ardennes Classics, and Escaut is a flat, cobbled course well suited between Flanders and Roubaix," said Rumpf.

"Placing Gent-Wevelgem before Flanders will also allow the organisers to better market their races, with Gent-Wevelgem marking the start of the "Flemish week" leading to Flanders."

The Flemish cycling week (Vlaamse Wielerweek) begins Wednesday, March 24 with the Dwars door Vlaanderen (1.1), followed by the 1.HC E3 Prijs Harelbeke. Gent-Wevelgem will now be incorporated into the festivities with the move to Sunday, March 28 before the KBC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde stage race.

The grand finale of the week, the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, takes place on April 4, one week before the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix.

The Brabantse Pijl will provide a transition from the cobbled races to the hillier Classics before the show packs up to moves to the Ardennes for Amstel Gold, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège.

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