The name may suggest otherwise, but for over a decade Gent-Wevelgem hasn’t started in Ghent. The riders click into their pedals in Ypres and the flag for the official start falls near Zonnebeke.
The riders traverse the flat fields of Flanders in the first half of the race before Gent-Wevelgem enters the hilly zone after 135 kilometres. The Scherpenberg, Vidaigneberg, Baneberg and Kemmelberg follow in quick succession before the riders continue to a ‘Flemish style’ version of Strade Bianche. Three sections of so-called plugstreets – or unpaved roads – are tackled within 5 kilometres.
Roughly 10 kilometres after the last plugstreet the combo Monteberg/Kemmelberg returns and with 45 kilometres out the final four hurdles appear. Within 11 kilometres the riders are to crest the Scherpenberg, Vidaigneberg, Baneberg, and Kemmelberg. The last ascent is particularly intimidating as this haul up is on the western side, meaning cobbles and a steepest sector of 23%.
The remaining 34 kilometres are played out on straight and often windy roads. There is one change of direction when the route moves through Ypres again to leave the place via the renowned Menin Gate Memorial. Chasers will have a perfect target if there are any attackers up the road.
Last year, Peter Sagan, Mike Teunissen, Matteo Trentin, Dylan Theuns and Luke Rowe were half a minute clear when they moved through Ypres. The peloton brought them back inside the last 18 kilometres. Other attacks were neutralised before Alexander Kristoff outsprinted John Degenkolb and Oliver Naesen on the line.
Gent – Wevelgem 2020: route, profiles, more
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