Peter Sagan wins Gent-Wevelgem

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) claimed his third Gent-Wevelgem title in impressive fashion with a comprehensive sprint win over Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ).

The World Champion rode a composed race and waited patiently for the final sprint as Quick-Step Floors set about controlling the race after the final ascent of the Kemmelberg. With strength in numbers Viviani came into the sprint as the favourite but the Italian was left boxed in after choosing to follow Matteo Trentin’s (Mitchelton-Scott) wheel. Sagan, meanwhile use his experience to drift onto Jasper Stuyven’s (Trek-Segaredo) left shoulder.

When the sprint opened up with just under 200m to go, Sagan had a clear road ahead of him, and the Bora rider drew his line to the left as Viviani was forced to come through the crowd and then around Démare. The Frenchman had a better line than Viviani but was left exposed when Sagan turned on the afterburners. Viviani found the strength to take second but the ground he conceded at the start of the sprint was too much to make up.

Two days ago, Sagan's form was questioned after he failed to impress in E3 Harelbeke. He may not even be at his very best but he was more than good enough to take the win in Wevelgem. With a week to go until Tour of Flanders, his rivals have been warned.

As for Viviani, the Italian slumped to the floor after crossing the line, a soigneur draping a jacket over his shoulders as the rider failed to fight back the tears of defeat. Until the final 500m, the De Panne winner had put in the perfect performance, making every key split, including the decisive one over the Kemmelberg.

Teammates Philippe Gilbert, Zdenek Stybar and Yves Lampaert all sacrificed their chances for him in the finale, with Gilbert the most impressive of the lot, with a huge turn on the front inside the final 5km. Their work was undone when was Viviani caught in the wheels. A split second of hesitation, saw him go around to the right and back onto Démare’s wheel but by the damage was done.

The role of Stuyven was pivotal. The Trek rider seemed to not only – through no fault of his own – lead out Sagan but also box in Viviani. This left the Quick-Step rider with no choice but to take the more difficult route through the sprint.

How it unfolded

The 174 starters rolled out of Deinze with the sun on their backs and relatively warm conditions for this time of the year. It took a while before a breakaway received space from the peloton but after half an hour of racing Brian van Goethem (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) and José Gonçalves (Katusha-Alpecin) took off. They were joined by Frederik Frison (Lotto-Soudal), and later also Filippo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates), Jimmy Duquennoy (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic) and Jan-Willem van Schip (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij).

At first, the peloton didn't relent, with the first hour of racing completed at 48 km/h. From there the lead for the six breakaway riders increased and topped nine minutes after 70 kilometres.

Without crosswind the passage through the flatlands of De Moeren didn’t result in a echelon fest but the gap between the leaders and the peloton slowly dropped to five minutes as they approached the first set of climbs. The fight for position started as the peloton swapped roads and main roads, which caused crashes and splits.

The decisive Kemmelberg

The six leaders still had an advantage of five minutes when they tackled the Kemmelberg for the first time. Quick-Step Floors led the peloton over the steep cobbled climb, and Philippe Gilbert accelerated to give a clear indication of both his form, and his team's desire to make the race.

Sixty kilometres from the finish, the first of three Plugstreets featured and BMC Racing charged to the front. The gap between the leaders and the peloton dropped down to three minutes on the first set of dirt roads. On the second plugstreet, the peloton started to stretch out under the pressure from Van Avermaet's men, and a lined-out peloton reached the final plugstreet 'The Catacombs' with almost half the field fighting to remain in contention.

Jelle Wallays launched the attack he had talked up in Lotto-Soudal pre-race press release, and with 200km raced the Belgian was joined by a small number of riders with Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) and Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) in the breakaway.

A few moments later that group was caught and suddenly Stybar, Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) and Stefan Küng (BMC) found themselves on the deck after a fall. Wallays didn't give up and featured in a new attempt to sneak away, combining forces with Julien Vermote (Dimension Data), Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha-Alpecin) and Alex Kirsch (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic). These four riders bridged up to the six leaders shortly after tackling the Baneberg climb, and just before the final ascent of the Kemmelberg.

With the race wide open Philippe Gilbert anticipated the Kemmelberg and gapped the peloton on the lower slopes. Sep Vanmarcke led the peloton over the cobbles with Trentin, Stybar marking his wheel. Gilbert seemed to have gear problems and his lead was vastly reduced by the time he crested the top with Vanmarcke the rest just a few bike lengths back.

Once over the tough climb, Roompot riders Brian van Goethem and Jan-Willem van Schip survived the Kemmelberg and joined up with Julien Vermote, Alex Kirsch, Jelle Wallays and Kuznetsov. Behind them, the big names combined forces, trying to make the race as hard as possible for John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff, who had both been left on the Kemmel.

On the main road towards Ypres, the Sagan and Gilbert group of 23 riders steamed through and brought back the group containing Vermote and Wallays. With almost 30 riders at the front of the race, and most of the sprint teams represented, there was little hope Kristoff and the rest making a return.

Roompot and Quick-Step Floors controlled the lead group an ensured that the pace was just high enough to keep the lead group from attacking, with Mitchelton-Scott also willing to work. Gilbert and Stybar were immense and closed down any thought of an attack with a final roll of the dice from Roompot neutralized in the closing stages.

Vanmarcke put in a late dash for the line but the Belgian was closed down as the sprinters readied themselves for the final push.


Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe5:53:37
2Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
3Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
4Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
5Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
7Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
8Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
9Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
10Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
11Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
12Jan Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
13Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
14Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
15Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data
16Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
17Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
18Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
19Brian van Goethem (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
20Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:00:05
21Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:00:08
22Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
23Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:12
24Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team0:01:01
25Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
26Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team0:01:14
27Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:01:22
28Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:49
29Justin Jules (Fra) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic0:03:14
30Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
31Alex Kirsch (Lux) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
32Edward Theuns (Bel) Team Sunweb0:03:17
33Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
34Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb
35Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
36Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
37Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
38Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
39Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
40Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
41Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal
42Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
43Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
44Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
45Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky
46Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
47Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
48John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
49Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida
50Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
51Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij0:05:34
52Rudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
53Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data
54Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
55Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
56Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
57Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Vital Concept Club
58Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
59Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal
60Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal
61Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
62Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan
63Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
64Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team
65Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
66Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb
67Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
68Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team
69Zico Waeytens (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
70Owain Doull (GBr) Team Sky
71Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ
72Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
73Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team
74Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team
75Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team
76Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team
77Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky
78Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing Team
79Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
80Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky
81Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
82Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
83Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team0:05:39
84Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
85Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ
86Jimmy Duquennoy (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
87Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ
88Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
89Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team
90Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky
91Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
92Maarten Wynants (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
93Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
94Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
95Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC Racing Team
96Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
97Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
98Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
99Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky
100Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott
101Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
102Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale0:11:47
103Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
104Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
105Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
106Benjamin King (USA) Dimension Data
107Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
108Antoine Duchesne (Can) FDJ
109Tanguy Turgis (Fra) Vital Concept Club
110Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) FDJ
111Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data
112Bert De Backer (Bel) Vital Concept Club
113Lukas Spengler (Swi) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
114Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
115Mark McNally (GBr) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
116Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale
117Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
118Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
119Michaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
120Sjoerd van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
121Alberto Bettiol (Ita) BMC Racing Team
122Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
123Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Sky
124Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
125Julien Stassen (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
126Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
127Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates
128Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin
129David Per (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
130Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
131Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
132Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
133Nicolas Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data
134Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
135Michael Goolaerts (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
136Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
137Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
138Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
139Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
140Thomas Leezer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
141Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club
142Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
143Oscar Gatto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
144Kenny Dehaes (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
145Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
146Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
147Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vital Concept Club
148Dries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
149Julien Morice (Fra) Vital Concept Club0:11:56
DNFJohan Le Bon (Fra) Vital Concept Club
DNFMads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
DNFWouter Wippert (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
DNFGregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
DNFSven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
DNFAmaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFAndreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFRüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFKiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo
DNFLennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb
DNFMitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
DNFDaniel McLay (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ
DNFDaniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team
DNFJordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFSenne Leysen (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFNikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Sunweb
DNFYoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
DNFJosé Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
DNFMaxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
DNFLoic Chetout (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFBaptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
DNSTimothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert

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