Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of Gent-Wevelgem.
For all the race information on Gent-Wevlegem, check out our special content:
- Boonen vs Cancellara - Podcast
- Gent-Wevelgem Start List
- 10 riders to watch - video
- Previous winners
- Race preview
- Cyclingnews on Instagram
Hello and welcome to a cold but dry and almost sunny Belgium for this year's Gent-Wevelgem.
Cyclingnews will have full coverage of the race yet again.
The riders and teams are already at the start in Deinze, on the outskirts of Gent, for the sign-on.
It is a busy Easter Sunday of racing with riders also in action in Barcelona for the final hilly stage of the Volta a Catalunya.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) leads Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) by just seven seconds and so we expect some aggressive racing.
In Italy it is time for the decisive stage of the Coppi e Bartali race, with a hilly day of racing, also likely to shake up the overall classification.
We will have full coverage of both the Volta a Catalunya and Coppi e Bartali on Cyclingnews later today.
Other riders are also in action in Corsica, France at the Criterium International. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the 7km time trial on Saturday afternoon and will be looking to defend the leader's yellow jersey.
Click here to read about his win.
@wielerman Sun, 27th Mar 2016 09:01:24
@Ride_Argyle Sun, 27th Mar 2016 09:05:08
This is the map of the men's race. They face 243km and ten climbs in the new-look route.
As per tradition, the race first heads north west to the Belgian coast and then returns to the heart of southern Flanders for the climb and especially the double loop around the Kemmelberg. This year the riders climb on the older, steeper cobbled climb and descend on the safer asphalt road.
This live page will also bring updates and information from the women's Gent-Wevelgem.
Cyclingnews will have a full race report, news and photo gallery from the women's race soon after the finish.
@tinkoff_team Sun, 27th Mar 2016 09:11:30
Despite the recent attacks in Belgium, the cycling fans are out in force at the start. Security has been increased but the race was given the green light to go ahead.
Dimension Data rider Mekseb Debesay arrived at his team hotel several hours after the conclusion of E3 Harelbeke after becoming lost and disorientated during the final kilometres of his first ever race in Flanders.
The team has ensured he has a GPS Garmin on his bike today just in case he gets lost again.
Read about his adventure after E3 Harelbeke here.
The riders are gathering in the main square in Deinze and are about to roll out and start Gent-Wevelgem.
The riders await the start.
Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) before the start.
After Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was forced to miss Gent-Wevelgem due to illness, Team Sky has also revealed that Ian Stannard is also ill and will not race today.
Former Belgian rider and 1982 Gent-Wevelgem winner Frank Hoste has dropped the start flag and waved the riders away.
@TeamSky Sun, 27th Mar 2016 09:39:19
@BMCProTeam Sun, 27th Mar 2016 09:35:31
The riders are heading towards Tielt and then the Belgian coast. The race route also includes brief visit into France before heading back to East Flanders for the key climbs of the race.
@marcopinotti Sun, 27th Mar 2016 09:38:51
The women's Gent-Wevelgem is also underway after the race left Ieper. The Women face 112km of racing and five climbs before they finish in Wevelgem at around 2pm local time.
@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 27th Mar 2016 09:44:47
The men have covered just a few kilometres but we already have a four-rider attack. Will it stick?
The four riders are: Pavel Brutt -the instigator, Lieuwe Westra, Jonas Rickaert and Josef Cerny.
Their gap is currently 30 seconds.
The men have covered just a few kilometres but we already have a four-rider attack. Will it stick?
The break now has a lead of 1:00.
Simon Pellaud of IAM Cycling is chasing the attack but is struggling alone.
Three riders di not started today due to illness: Alexander Kristoff (Katyusha), Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R).
Both the men and the women are fighting some strong winds out on the course.
@WMNcycling Sun, 27th Mar 2016 10:07:38
The peloton has let the break go clear and the move now has 6:00!
It seems that Westra stopped for a natural break, the other riders waited for him and so they were joined by Pellaud.
Its great to see there are seven different Gent-Wevelgem races today, for every category.
@gaudryt Sun, 27th Mar 2016 10:18:17
After 25km of racing, the gap is up to 8:40.
As we await the finale of the race, why not listen to our latest podcast.
Click here to listen to the podcast.
Former Classics legend Kelly gives his analysis on Milan-San Remo, a race won by Arnaud Demare but followed by accusations that the Frenchman took a tow on the Cipressa.
And finally, with the Spring Classics in full swing, Kelly and company try but seemingly fail to decide on who the best Classics rider of this generation has been – Tom Boonen or Fabian Cancellara?
Listen to the podcast and let us know who you think is the best Classics star in the comments section.
@WMNcycling Sun, 27th Mar 2016 10:37:11
@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 27th Mar 2016 10:44:07
@daniellloyd1 Sun, 27th Mar 2016 10:46:31
200km remaining from 243km
The men have covered 43km so far. 200km remaining.
@ORICA_GreenEDGE Sun, 27th Mar 2016 10:55:10
@WMNcycling Sun, 27th Mar 2016 10:53:01
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) is one of the favourites for Gent-Wevelgem but he doesn’t seem to have as much confidence in his chances.
The world champion placed second to Michal Kwiatkowski at E3 Harelbeke Friday but says that Gent-Wevelgem might be an even bigger challenge.
"Gent-Wevelgem might prove more difficult for me than E3 Harelbeke, as the finish is more suitable for solo attacks and it's not easy to watch everyone,” Sagan said in a team press release. Sagan won the race in 2013 while racing with Cannondale and celebrated by pulling a wheelie.
This year, organisers have routed the 243km race race up the tougher side of the Kemmelberg and added in several other climbs, with 10 climbs within 65km.
After climbing the Kemmelberg for the first time at the 170km mark, the riders will loop around and pass over the Monteberg and the Baneberg before heading back into Kemmel. On the second time up the Kemmelberg, riders will race up the other, older side, which has a section at 23 per cent.
“Any team with more riders at the front after crossing the hills could have a big advantage, but it may not be decisive - anyone can surprise in these classics,” Sagan suggested.
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was back in action after missing E3 Harelbeke due to illness.
Do you remember last year's Gent-Wevelgem?
The wind and rain made for a hard race, with some riders blown off the road and into the ditch.
Click here to look back at last year's windy Gent-Wevelgem via our race report and photo gallery.
To get ready for the finale of Gent-Wevelgem, read our special E3Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem preview.
It has all you need to know on this weekend's Belgian Classics.
Click here to read the preview.
@ORICA_GreenEDGE Sun, 27th Mar 2016 11:21:19
178km remaining from 243km
The the wind making the peloton cautious, the break has opened its lead to 11:00.
Belgian television reporting that Fernando Gaviria has crashed. He seems to be ok though and he's making his way back to the peloton.
The weather has been pretty good to the riders so far but it is cold and we can expect a bit of wind and rain in the final hour of racing.
Katusha are without Alexander Kristoff today after the Norwegian fell sick over the weekend. Cyclingnews caught up with his fellow Norwegian and roommate Sven Erik Bystrom at the start of the race. Bystrom himself is feeling under the weather and says that the team will try their hardest in the absence of their leader.
"I’m not 100 per cent healthy but I hope that as a team that we can do well without Alex as a leader," he told Cyclingnews. "He [Alex] is also a little bit sick so he will try to recover before De Panne.
"It’s just a small flu, and I think some other guys in other teams have suffered with this. It’s a hard time of year to try and stay healthy, with the cold, but we will try to make the best out of it.
"Today we don’t have a main leader today but we still have Jacopo Guarnieri, which is pretty good, and Marco Haller and Michael Morkov, who can do something in the final. We still have some options but it’s not the same without Alex."
After 80km, the riders are passing through the feed zone at the moment. They'll need to keep fulled up with a challenging finish ahead.
The peloton has split into three groups. We have also seen reports that Wanty's Simone Antonini has crashed out of the race.
Currently around 20 seconds between the first and second peloton.
We've collected a selection of photos and quotes from the start this morning, take a look at them all here.
142km remaining from 243km
The gap to the escapees is now just under the four-minute mark with s touch over 30 seconds between the two main groups.
Team Sky has had a very good weekend with Michal Kwiatkowski winning on Friday. They are without Kwiatkowski or Ian Stannard today but they still have a number of options. One of which is sprinter Elia Viviani and Cyclingnews caught up with him at the start.
"I rode E3 and we are really happy with the team performance. It was a really big goal for us. Kwiatkowski is not here with us today. Normally it is a sprinter’s classic but with this wind maybe it will be really hard. Maybe not as tough as last year but it will still be hard. There are some small changes, with two times up the Kemmel and also the tougher side. We have Luke Rowe in good condition to make a hard race and I’m ready for the sprint if we make it.
"We decide to come here this year because I’m doing all the classics because for sure they will be my focus for the next few years. From San Remo, to Flanders and Roubaix, it will be a really big goal to focus on in the next few years after the track at the Olympic. For that reason, we also wanted to try it this year to see what my level is at the moment."
The front group contains many of the favourites including Boonen, Van Avermaet, Sagan, Boasson Hagen, Cancellara, Demare and Benoot.
We also spotted Fabian Cancellara's new steed at the start. He was riding it at Strade Bianche and at Friday's E3 Harelbeke. The new colours and design are in honour of the Tour of Flanders. If you want one of these yourselves, it's not yet available in the shops but you can look at it in our gallery here.
131km remaining from 243km
The gap to the escepees continues to come down. It's now just over two minutes, while the third group on the road continues to lose ground to the peloton. They're almost a minute behind now.
Taylor Phinney is another of the riders who has made the split. He's making his Classics debut after his 2014 crash that put him out for over a year.
"It’s been two years. It’s a good energy to be back," he said to Cyclingnews. "We’ll see how today goes, we have a pretty strong team and we’re going for Greg. I’m just taking it as it comes and trying to have some fun and trying to stay warm.
"I’m just going to see how it unfolds on the roads, these races are really hard to predict."
Outside of Belgium, and Nair Quintana has just won the Volta a Catalunya with Alexei Tsatevich took the final stage. You can read the report here.
119km remaining from 243km
There only looks to be around 20 riders in this chasing group. We can see Sagan, Terpstra, Cancellara, Roelandts, Boonen Benoot and Demare in there. Several LottoNL-Jumbo riders and plenty from BMC too. They're in an echelon across the road as they track down this leading group. Less than a minute between the two groups.
There is no sign of Nacer Bouhanni yet. It appears he has missed out on the split in the bunch. He was a late edition to this race after he missed out on Milan-San Remo glory. He'll have his team working hard to bring this split back.
117km remaining from 243km
A problem for Fabian Cancellara. Unlike Friday, his team are quickly with him and he's back on his way with a new wheel.
The front peloton has made contact with the escapees. There's still 113km and plenty of action to come.
Edvald Boasson Hagen is back in action today, after missing Friday's E3 Harelbeke due to illness. He's a previous winner of this race and will be looking to bounce back with a strong result here.
""I had a cold after Milan-San Remo so I didn’t feel like I was ready to race on Friday. I am feeling better now and hopefully I’m ready to race.
"I’ve won once before and you have to be up front to make the split in the cross winds. It’s pretty windy today. Hopefully it will be ok. Last year was not so great."
108km remaining from 243km
Riders are getting shed from this front group. 54 seconds now separate the first and second groups on the road.
Peter Sagan staying hidden in the front group. This morning, he and teammate Erik Baska, wanted to go to the toilet before the start. They ran into a nearby bar, as the busses were too far away, and had 100 people standing outside waiting for them when they returned. The bar owner has promised them free beer if they come back this evening. Sagan won't be able to take them up on the offer as he's flying home right after the race.
104km remaining from 243km
The wind is picking up out on course and it's getting tough out there. We can expect some rain later too.
A problem for Popovych, he goes into the grass but manages to stay upright.
Tyler Farrar and Manuel Quinziato setting the pace at the front of the leading group. They're putting in a good effort and have made a small gap. They realise and slow a little for the others to catch up.
Just under the 100km to go and Dimension Data continue to share the effort with Etixx-QuickStep and BMC. The gap to the group behind is coming down very slowly. 46 seconds is now the advantage.
Alexander Kristoff isn't racing today. After a tough E3 Harelbeke, he fell ill. You can read the full story here.
Sep Vanmarcke is at the front of the second group, he's doing great work to bring the gap down. It now only stands at 17 seconds.
88km remaining from 243km
Both groups have now come together and we've got lots of attacks coming off the front. Manuel Quinziato has a dig and ups the pace.
The increase in pace means that some of the riders that made the juncture to the front group are now getting dropped.
Cancellara making an appearance at the front of the group as they climb the Cote de la Blanchisseire.
Earlier today, Chantal Blaak continued her run of good form with victory at the women's Gent-Wevelgem. You can find the full results here.
80km remaining from 243km
Debusschere has crashed and is in a lot of pain at the side of the road. He appears to have come down in the missing of the group. It doesn't look good for the Belgian as he gets attention from the medical team.
The peloton is on the Baneberg and Trek Factory Racing have put all their available riders to the front.
A lot of riders have been dropped from this front group and it has come down to around 40 riders. All the favourites appear to be safely inside the group though. Cancellara is fifth wheel of the six Trek riders on the front.
Trek is obviously being extra careful after Cancellara was left with no help at E3 Harelbeke when he suffered a broken derailleur.
The riders are getting ready for the first ascent of the Kemmelberg and it looks like things are getting a little nervous in the group. Trek are really pushing the pace now, with help from Taylor Phinney and Tyler Farrar.
Lotto-Soudal are moving towards the front now too. Debusschere crashed earlier but they've got options in Benoot, Greipel and Roelandts today.
The Kemmelberg has lined out the peloton but failed to spark any attacks or major gaps.
The Monteberg follows soon and the cross winds are also causing damage now. this is a key moment of the race.
There is less than 30 riders in the front group but there is still 68km to race.
Taylor Phinney leads the group over the Monteberg. HE looks strong and is working for BMC leader Greg Van Avermaet.
Jens Keukeleire told me this morning that the climbs leading to the Kemmelberg make the race harder.
"The roads are always narrow whereas in the past there were two climbs and then wider roads."
The race is definitely on now.
@Lotto_Soudal Sun, 27th Mar 2016 14:08:05
64km remaining from 243km
Benoot is trying to make it a hard race. Trentin is happy to work with him.
Brutt and Oss are also hard workers and their lead is going up to 25 seconds.
The Dimension Data team is leading the chase behind but they will have to shoulder much of the effort. The big teams all have riders in the attack.
LottoNL-Jumbo is also working to close the gap, riding for Sep Vanmarke.
Dimension Data and LottoNL-Jumbo are taking smooth turns at the front. Di Data are trying to protect Edvald Boasson Hagen's chances.
The earlier crashes have left several riders in pain and Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) has been taken to hospital after hitting his head.
The gap is down to seven seconds. We are about to see another race and other attacks.
As the race comes back together there is a sprint to fight for position before a turn.
48km remaining from 243km
We have a moment of pause after a series of attacks. But we are only 10km from the Baneberg and the Kemmelberg.
Kuznetsov (Katusha) has a 30-second lead but the front group of contenders are letting him hang out front.
Trek-Segafredo has four riders on the front, riding for Cancellara.
The race is crossing some open fields but the wind is not causing echelons this time.
45km remaining from 243km
Kuznetsov has pushed his lead out to 50 seconds but he is alone and without a bidon.
Sadly there are reports that Wanty Groupe Gobert rider Antoine Demoitié is in hospital in Lille after an accident with a race motorbike.
The speed rises in the front group as the Baneberg climb approaches.
Five kilometres later is the final climb of the Kemmelberg.
Bryan Coquard (Direct Energue) is in the front group and so is a danger if the race ends in a sprint.
Attack! Vanmarke goes clear on the Banberg.
Vanmarcke has been chased down as the big teams use their strength in depth. BMC are riding for Van Avermaet before the final climb of the Kemmelberg.
Etixx are also setting riders up the road. Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx - Quick-Step) has a gap.
Etixx also has 3 riders in the front group.
World champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) is there too with teammate Oscar Gatto.
The riders are packed tight across the road.
Kuznetsov hits the Kemmelberg first. Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx - Quick-Step) is chasing him.
Cancellara accelerates behind.
Sagan is with him.
There is a split as they begin the descent.
Vanmarcke is there too.
34km remaining from 243km
Cancellara and Sagan have a slight gap on Vanmarcke, with the others a little further behind.
Three riders are chasing them.
Behind there are three chasers with a group of other riders chasing them.
The chasers are Stybar, Rowe and Van Avermaet.
Cancellara, Vanmarcke and Sagan have caught Kuznetsov. They lead by eight seconds.
Rowe, Van Avermaet and Stybar sit up and are caught by the chasers.
The quartet upfront now has 20 seconds but can they hold off the combined strength of the chasers?
The attack of four are working smoothly, except Kuznetsov who was out front alone before the Kemmelberg.
Behind Etixx has five riders leading the chasing.
Etixx has Gaviria in the chase and so he could win the sprint.
Etixx are under huge pressure to deliver after a poor spring so far.
26km remaining from 243km
The gap is growing up as Sagan, Cancellara and Vanmarcke do massive turns in the attack.
Behind Etixx is trying to half road the chasers and make them suffer. But they are losing time to the four attackers.
Even Kuznetsov (Katusha) is helping with the attack now.
@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:02:25
The break passes through the centre of historic Ieper. There lead is now 35 seconds and rising!
We spoke to Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) before the start and he talked about Gaviria.
“It’ll be a day like there’s so many in Belgium, everything’s possible in terms of weather. It’ll be a tough day. The wind comes from the right direction to make it a hard race."
"Gaviria? It’s his first participation. We’ll see what he’s capable of. I think he would’ve won Sanremo without the crash. On Wednesday he still had that race both in his head and legs. On Friday I don’t think we made tactical mistakes."
20km remaining from 243km
Etixx are still chasing for Gaviria and have dropped several riders from their group. but they are struggling to reduce the gap to the four leaders.
Terpstra does a long turn for Etixx but other riders are slowing the chase to defend Cancellara''s and Sagan's attack.
The chasers can see the attacking quartet up the road but do not seem to have the power to catch them.
Orica is also trying to help but the gap is still 36 seconds.
The road to the finish is long and straight now. Who will emerge strongest and who will win an eventual sprint in Wevelgem?
Katusha are also helping to slow the chase in favour of Kuznetsov.
@CKeiser Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:17:56
12km remaining from 243km
It will be fascinating to understand who will be the strongest in the finale today. Could Sagan finally win in the rainbow jersey?
Or will Cancellara win in his final season?
Both need to be careful in how they race against Vanmarcke. He could wait for a power sprint or try a late attack.
Kuznetsov is also a threat to all three. This is great Classics racing.
@inrng Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:20:22
Behind Etixx has rightly put the chase group in the gutter as the wind blows from the left. riders are being spat out of the back as they crack in the strong wind.
9km remaining from 243km
Sagan puts his forearms on his bars in an aero position. The four are still clear with a gap of 35 seconds.
@TrekSegafredo Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:23:45
6km remaining from 243km
The peloton seems to have cracked. The gap is 50 seconds.
The break has a tailwind that is helping them power to the finish.
@Laura_Weislo Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:26:59
@TourDeJose Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:25:43
5km remaining from 243km
Who is your tip to win? Sagan?
4km remaining from 243km
Surely some one will attack Sagan soon.
The pace up front has dropped as the mind games begin.
@LottoJumbo_road Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:29:56
3km remaining from 243km
Here we go. We're on the long straight road to Wevelgem.
The pace has dropped as the riders watch each other.
The gap to the chasers if 45 seconds but they are still working to close the gap.
The riders are looking at each other.
They spread across the road.
Cancellara is on the front. Sagan well placed for a sprint.
This is like a track sprint.
Here they come!
Cancellara feigns an attack.
They can see the finish!
Kuznetsov leads it out.
But Sagan is well placed and wins the sprint!!
He has time to sit up and celebrate as he crosses the line.
The curse of the rainbow jersey is over.
Kuznetsov bravely lead out the sprint and Cancellara struggled to get on his wheel. Sagan looked much stornger and moved passed him, then sprinted past Kuznetsov.
Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Demare (FDJ) won the sprint for fifth place, just a few second back.
Riders are still crossing the line as the rain begins to fall. They made it home just in time.
Tinkoff teammate Alberto Contador was quick to congratulate Sagan.
@LottoJumbo_road Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:42:21
Stay with our live coverage as we bring you all the immediate reaction from the race.
"I’m very happy I won finally in this rainbow jersey," Sagan said.
@TrekSegafredo Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:45:31
It is interesting to see that Fernando Gaviria was sixth in the sprint.
Sagan was happy to finally win and win as world champion. He dedicated his win to his wife’s father.
“I’m very happy I won finally in this rainbow jersey,” he said before climbing on the top step of the winner’s podium. “This is my second win at Gent-Wevelgem and this is for the father of my love because he’s having a hard time.”
He then explained the race and the thrilling finale.
“Fabian went on the last climb and then we got in the break. I think the fans saw who were in the break. We worked together from the start,” he said.
“We played with group a little. Then in the finale there was a strong wind and we did full gas all day. We went slow near the finish because we had a lot of time on group. Fabian after a lot of kilometres is fast, then they know I’m fast if feel good. Today I was very, very good and so the win came.”
@fmk_RoI Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:51:45
@tinkoff_team Sun, 27th Mar 2016 15:54:00
Yesterday we made this exclusive photo gallery of Peter Sagan's race bike for Gent-Wevelem.
Check out the special colours and his equipment choices by clicking here.
Check out our initial race report and photographs fro the race by clicking here.
@tinkoff_team Sun, 27th Mar 2016 16:06:17
We have the first photos of Sagan's win at Gent-Wevelgem.
@tinkoff_team Sun, 27th Mar 2016 16:25:07
It was tough out in the Flanders fields.
@inCycleTV Sun, 27th Mar 2016 16:32:30
@fmk_RoI Sun, 27th Mar 2016 16:37:55
Want to see how Peter Sagan won Gent-Wevelgem? We've got the official race highlights.
Click here for the video. Subscribe to our video channel to never miss any of our ever-growing video content.
We've got our full race report and over 40 photos from today's Gent-Wevelem.
Click here to enjoy all the action on the report page.
Here's the race story in a series of photos.
Westra was part of the early break of the day.
Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) was caught up in an early crash.
It was a hard day out in the hills and fields of Flanders.
Trek-Segafredo lead the charge before the Kemmelberg to set up Cancellara's attack.
After missing the attack over the Kemmelberg, Etixx-QuickStep were obliged to chase to try to set up Gaviria.
However Etixx-QuickSTep's chase was futile. They were unable to catch the quartet, who went on to sprint for victory.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) proved to be the strongest and fastest, winning by a bike length.
Behind, the sprinters fought for fifth place, with Arnaud Demare (FDJ) taking it.
Did you enjoy the race? Did Sagan deserve to win? join in the debate in our comments section below the report and results.
Click here to have your say.
Thanks for joining us for our live coverage for the whole of Gent-Wevelgem.
We'll have more live coverage next week, including from Sunday's big one: The Tour of Flanders.
For a full race report, photo gallery and video highlights, click here. We'll have exclusive news and interviews from our reporters in Belgium very soon and throughout the rest of the day.
We're off for a belated Easter Belgian beer and some chocolate. Like Peter Sagan, we think we deserve it.
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