VIDEO: Greg Van Avermaet wins Gent-Wevelgem
Greg van Avermaet has taken the victory in Gent-Wevelgem. The rider of BMC crossed the finish line ahead of Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott).Peter Sagan completed the podium
The race started with a crash that involved Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale) but they continued the race.
A breakaway form including Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Hugo Houle (AG2R-La Mondiale), Ryan Mullen (Cannondale-Drapac), Mark McNally (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Dennis van Winden (Israel Cycling Academy), Jay Robert Thomson (Dimension Data), Lloic Chetout (Cofidis), Christophe Masson (WB-Veranclassic Aquality Protect) and Elmar Reinders (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) and their lead grew to over 7 minutes.
Strong winds took their toll on the peloton causing echelons. Their were some crashes and Mark Renshaw of Dimension Data abandoned. The 1st ascent of the Kemmelberg and the Monteberg, broke the breakaway and only Chetout and Van Hecke remained.
The new gravel section of Plugstreet caused a flury of attacks from the peloton.
At the top of the second ascent of the Kemmelberg, Greg van Avermaet (BMC) attacked and was quickly followed by Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo). During the descent Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) also joined the group at the front of the race.
Another group with riders including Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott), Soren Kragh Andersen and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step) bridges across as the Peloton tried to reel them back in..
With 20 kilometers to go, Keukeleire attacked and only Sagan, Van Avermaet, Terpstra and Andersen could follow.
Van Avermaet and Keukeleire took advantage of a small disagreement between Sagan and Terpstra. Terpstra wouldn't work with Sagan.
Van Avermaet and Keukeleire got a gap and put the hammer down. Sagan was left riding with Terpstra and Andersen who wouldn't work together, so the gap grew.
Van Avermaet was stronger in the sprint against his countryman Keukeleire and won, whil an extremely frustrated Peter Sagan finished third with Terpstra and Degenkolb completed the top five of the race.
For Van Avermaet this was his second win in a few days after also getting the victory in the E3 Harelbake.
He is the clear favorite for the Tour of Flanders next Sunday April 2nd, which you can follow and watch live here on Gran Fondo Guide.
Curse of the Rainbow Jersey?
Clearly disappointed with the reluctance of his group to work with him to bridge the gap, Peter used this frustration to fuel his desire to take more wins in the coming races. “I don’t know what Terpstra wanted to do, because he attacked to go in the breakaway, but afterwards he didn’t want to work. This is just one example of how you can lose the race against me. What can I do – we’re not teammates – I can’t work for everyone, only for them to beat me in the sprint. I’m not disappointed – I’m more motivated now. If you win all the time, you lose your motivation. Now I’m motivated to take some more wins. We’ll see what happens at Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.”
Sports Director, Jens Zemke, was similarly frustrated with the day’s outcome. “To start playing games with 15km to go is not the way to win races. At the moment, it seems that some are more interested in beating Peter than in winning, but that’s cycling. Peter was strong again and always in control until that point – that’s the good thing about today. Also, the team was strong. We still had four guys to support Peter going into the finale.”
2017 Gent-Wevelgem Top 10 Results
1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 5:39:05
2 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:06
4 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
5 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
6 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
7 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
9 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
10 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Team UAE Emirates