Gent-Wevelgem 2020

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Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) celebrates winning the 2019 edition of Gent-Wevelgem

Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) celebrates winning the 2019 edition of Gent-Wevelgem (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Gent-Wevelgem has always been known as 'the sprinters' Classic', but the addition of more and more climbing across recent additions has seen the Belgian one-day race increasingly resemble the Tour of Flanders, which normally takes place a week later.

Last year, it was indeed a sprinter – UAE Team Emirates' Alexander Kristoff – who came out on top from a blanket finish of some 30 riders, with the Norwegian getting the better of John Degenkolb, then still with Trek-Segafredo, and AG2R's Oliver Naesen.

This season, of course, has seen the unprecedented move of the major spring Classics from their usual March/April dates to October – although Gent-Wevelgem's slot a week before Flanders has been retained with a little judicious juggling of the calendar by the UCI.

Heading towards this year's Gent-Wevelgem, the rescheduled Ardennes Classics have seen those coming out of the summer's Tour de France dominate, with Sunweb's Marc Hirschi winning Flèche Wallonne and Jumbo-Visma's Primož Roglič coming out on top at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The cobbled Classics, however, are a whole different kettle of fish, and those riders targeting Flanders and then Paris-Roubaix a further week later will be keen to test themselves on the pavé at Gent-Wevelgem, with the final climb of the Kemmelberg, 40km from the finish, often proving decisive in determining the final front group.

While Kristoff is set to return to try to defend his title, three-time winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) will be absent due to the fact that he's currently riding the overlapping Giro d'Italia. The 2017 champion, Greg Van Avermat, also looks very unlikely to be able to try for a second title after crashing out of Liège the week before Gent-Wevelgem, although, at the time of writing, his CCC Team were waiting on further results to ascertain whether the Belgian may still be able to return to action before the end of the 2020 season.


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