In fact, the only recent bunch sprints happened in 2018 and 2019.
Like most races in Flanders, the weather is hugely important in Gent-Wevelgem. Strong winds often cause havoc, especially in the early part of the race. The riders then enter a section with 9 hills and 3 unpaved roads within 63 kilometres before the last 34.3 kilometres are played out on exposed roads again, where crosswinds and echelons are imminent.
That said, the weather forecast promises a quite day with sun and moderate winds.
Gent-Wevelgem can play out in all sorts of ways and even on a windless and sunny day the race through Flanders Fields is not suited for all sprinters. The series of hills and dirt roads is simply too trying.
Yet, the fact remains that attackers are a perfect target in the flat run-in to Wevelgem. On the other hand, if the attackers are powerful enough – and the race has been hard enough – a chase does not always pay off. Which has been the case in most recent editions.
Seven participants in the 2022-edition of Gent-Wevelgem are familiar with the sensation of winning the race – Boasson Hagen (2009), Degenkolb (2014), Van Avermaet (2017), Sagan (2018, 2016, 2013), Kristoff (2019), Pedersen (2020), and Van Aert (2021).
The Flemish classics of this season were won by Van Aert (Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 saxo Bank Classic), Jakobsen (Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne) and Merlier (Brugge-De Panne).
Favourites 2021 Gent-Wevelgem
***** Wout van Aert, Mads Pedersen, Fabio Jakobsen
**** Jasper Philipsen, Matteo Trentin, Jasper Stuyven
*** Tim Merlier, Dylan Groenewegen, Christophe Laporte, Biniam Girmay Hailu
** Alexander Kristoff, Danny van Poppel, Florian Sénéchal, Quinn Simmons
* Mike Teunissen, Arnaud Démare, John Degenkolb, Peter Sagan, Cees Bol