Gent - Wevelgem 2015: Heroic race, magnificent victory Paolini

Luca PaoliniGent-Wevelgem 2015 is decided after a 240 kilometres toil with wind, rain and cobbles. The complete package Flandres-style. Jurgen Roelandts races a brilliant solo, but he is caught with 18 kilometres left. Paolini powers to victory, outsmarting his fellow-escapees Terpstra, Thomas, Vandenbergh, Vanmarcke and Debusschere. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results Gent-Wevelgem 2015

1. Luca Paolini (ita)
2. Niki Terpstra (nld) + 0.11
3. Geraint Thomas (gbr) s.t.
4. Stijn Vandenbergh (bel) + 0.18
5. Jens Debusschere (bel) + 0.26
6. Sep Vanmarcke (bel) + 0.40
7. Jürgen Roelandts (bel) + 1.52
8. Daniel Oss (ita) + 4.15
9. Alexander Kristoff (nor) + 5.12
10. Peter Sagan (svk) s.t.

Race report
After ten minutes a group of brave men dare to break free. Timmer, Gougeard, Dowsett, Broett, Sergent, Van Goethem and Tedeschi race to a maximum gain of 8’25”. Behind them the peloton is shred to pieces in echelons on several occasions.

The escapees keep up the brave work untill halfway the route and the they capitulate. Behind them the race is an absolute battle-field. In the first echelon are amongst others Vanmarcke, Paolini, Thomas, Stybar, Roelandts, Tankink, Sieberg, Kristoff, Sagan, Thwaites, Tjallingii, Debusschere and Theuns.

With 100 km’s left the front group is injected with new riders and Tjallingii jumps of the front. He soloes swiftly to a 1 minute gain.

At Kemmelberg the chasers are closing in on Tjallingii and Roelandts makes the jump to the front of the race. The Belgian rider leaves the Dutchman and is the next soloist.

In the group with favourites Vandenbergh, Thomas, Oss, Vanmarcke and Debusschere attack. With strong head-winds Paolini bridges the gap. This group of six is 1 minute down on Roelandts, but the leader gives full gas and the gain grows to 2 minutes.

Niki Terpstra races to the group of chasers.

When cresting the steep Kemmelberg for the second and last time Roelandts is still 1’30” in the lead. At the last hill of the day, Monteberg, it’s down to one minute. Oss has been dropped.

Slowly but surely the chasers are drawing near. With 18 km’s left, a moment before Roelandts is caught, Terpstra punctures. But when he manages to get back at the front the Dutchman attacks. Only Paolini reacts ar first, then Geraint Thomas bridges the gap. Vandenbergh joins him and with 8 km’s to go it’s back to six at the front.

Then it’s Paolini-time. The 38-year old Italian attacks with 6 km’s left and at first no-one reacts. Terpstra and Thomas try to bridge the gap, but it’s too late and Paolini races to one of the most heroic wins in his career.

Gent-Wevelgem 2015: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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Luca Paolini

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