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Alexander Kristoff wins 2019 Gent-Wevelgem
2019 Gent-Wevelgem Top 10
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||5:26:08|
|2||John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo|
|3||Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2R La Mondiale|
|4||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus|
|5||Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|6||Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie|
|7||Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott|
|8||Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|9||Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida|
|10||Jens Debusschere (Bel) Team Katusha Alpecin|
Looking back at the 2018 Gent-Wevelgem
Viviani's teammate Philippe Gilbert started the chain of events that led to Sagan's victory when he gapped the peloton on the lower slopes of the Kemmelberg. Once over the climb, the group containing Gilbert and Sagan caught Julien Vermote (Dimension Data) and Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) – the remnants of the day's break – and pushed on as a group of around 30 riders.
With help from Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij, Quick-Step Floors seemed to have set things up perfectly for Viviani by keeping the pace high and ensuring there were no escapees from the front group.
But Viviani was boxed in by a helpless Zdenek Stybar – another teammate – during the final sprint, and when the Italian could finally wriggle free and onto Demare's wheel, it was a cas eof tto little, too late to catch world champion Sagan.
Sagan set to make history
Gent-Wevelgem is one of the races that makes up Flemish Cycling Week, which takes place before the Tour of Flanders. It caters more for the sprinters, although it's often won by a rider who is also able to navigate the hills.
The first edition of the race in 1934 was won by Belgian rider Gustave Van Belle, and all but two of the first 35 races were won by Belgian riders.
Six riders have won Gent-Wevelgem a record three times. Four of those are Belgian – Robert Van Eenaeme, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx and Tom Boonen – while the other two are the aforementioned Peter Sagan and Italy's Mario Cipollini.
There has also been a women's edition of Gent-Wevelgem since 2012, with Lizzie Deignan winning the inaugural event and Marta Bastianelli winning last year's race.
Ones to watch
The clear favourite, as he has been for the last five or six years, is Peter Sagan. He hasn't won any other major race more times than Gent-Wevelgem, and if he wins this year's event he will become the most successful rider in the race's history. If the race is ridden at a fast-pace and ends in a bunch sprint, you wouldn't bet against him.
If Elia Viviani rides Gent-Wevelgem this year, then we could be in for a repeat of last year's battle between him and Sagan. He had the beating of the Slovak in 2018, but unfortunate positioning at the wrong time cost him. He'll be determined to avenge that this year.
If the pace is made hard enough on the climbs during the middle part of the race, then a lot of the pure sprinters may not make it to the finish. If that does happen, it could be a foregone conclusion once more for Sagan. However, it could also open the door to somebody like Michael Matthews (Sunweb) who, despite always being in and around the top 10 in major races, has never won Wevelgem or any of the five Monuments.
Gent-Wevelgem 201931 March 2019 | Gent