The riders set off from the the renowned Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres to traverse the flat fields of Flanders in the first half of the race. Crosswinds are free to roam on the exposed terrain near the Belgian coast.
Just before reaching De Panne, a town with the widest beaches of the Flemish coast, the riders return. Tension rises as the race approaches the hilly zone after almost 150 kilometres. The Scherpenberg, Baneberg, Monteberg and Kemmelberg follow in quick succession before Gent-Wevelgem continues on a Flemish take to Strade Bianche. Three sections of so-called plugstreets – or unpaved roads – are tackled within 5 kilometres.
Some 10 kilometres after the last plugstreet the combo Monteberg/Kemmelberg returns and with 45 kilometres remaining the riders are back where the climbing started. They hit the Scherpenberg and Baneberg and head for the race’s centerpiece, Kemmelberg, which is now tackled from another side. This final haul up is particularly intimidating. Although it’s only 800 metres long, the average gradient sits at 10.1% and the steepest ramp goes up at 23%. Moreover – cobbles!
The remaining 34 kilometres are played out on straight and exposed roads. There is only one change of direction, in Ypres, and chasers will have a perfect target if there are any attackers up the road.
Gent-Wevelgem served a windy edition last year. A group of nine riders were left at the front after the last drag up the Kemmelberg. Danny van Poppel and Sam Bennett were too exhausted to follow the pace and the race came down to a sprint of seven. Wout van Aert took the spoils ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo, Matteo Trentin, Sonny Colbrelli, Michael Matthews, Stefan Küng, and Nathan Van Hooydonck.
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Gent – Wevelgem 2022: route, profiles, more
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