Gent - Wevelgem 2019: Favourites
Gent-Wevelgem is often billed as a Flemish Classic for sprinters, but the race does not always come down to a fast finishers clash. Moves in the hilly section before the last 34 kilometres on the flat have not seldom been (pre-)decisive.
Gent-Wevelgem can play out in all sorts of ways and even on a windless and sunny day Gent-Wevelgem is not suited for all sprinters. The route takes in series of ten hills – all crammed together – and three sectors of semi-unpaved roads, which obviously causes exhaustion. The last hill, Kemmelberg, is crested with 34 kilometres remaining.
Following a number of wins by attackers last year’s edition once again saw a sprint finish with Peter Sagan besting Elia Viviani. It was the first peloton sprint since John Degenkolb got the spoils of victory five years ago.
Interesting, the first two Flemish Classics of 2019 were won after solos. Zdenek Stybar brought a late attack home in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, while Bob Jungels powered to victory with a long-range attack in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, which is a race similar to Gent-Wevelgem. Both are billed as sprint classics.
Earlier this week, Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to victory in Driedaagse De Panne and Stybar won his second Flemish Classic last Friday when he outsprinted Wout Van Aert, Greg Van Avermaet, Alberto Bettiol and Bob Jungels in the E3 BinckBank Classic.
Four contenders in the 2019-edition of Gent-Wevelgem are familiar with the sensation of winning the race – Sagan (2018, 2016, 2013), Van Avermaet (2017), Degenkolb (2014) and Boasson Hagen (2009).
Favourites 2019 Gent-Wevelgem
***** Peter Sagan, John Degenkolb, Elia Viviani
**** Greg Van Avermaet, Magnus Cort, Arnaud Démare, Matteo Trentin
*** Mathieu van der Poel, Oliver Naesen, Philippe Gilbert, Michael Valgren
** Pascal Ackermann, Søren Kragh Andersen, Jasper Stuyven, Zdenek Stybar
* Fernando Gaviria, Jens Keukeleire, Mike Teunissen, Sep Vanmarcke, Sonny Colbrelli
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