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Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor) powered to bunch sprint victory at Gent-Wevelgem, Sunday. The Dutch rider again benefited from the work of teammate Lisa Brennauer, repeating the team’s successful formula from Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, which Wild also won, Thursday.
Furthering the throwback to earlier this week, Wild beat Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel-Valkenburg) to the line. Letizia Paternoster (Trek-Segafredo) came third.
Wild kicked hard and launched a long sprint having benefitted from Brennauer’s guidance through the traffic in the closing kilometer. Wiebes came off Brennauer’s wheel early in the sprint and looked to move around the WNT rider, but lacked the final surge, finishing half a length behind.
The 137-kilometer race included the key features of the men’s edition, notably the gravel ‘plugstreets’ and two ascents of the notorious Kemelberg.
The succession of bergs in the final half of the route whittled the race down to around 40 riders. Despite a number of attacks over the bergs, the race was all together as the flat-out final 35km run-in to the line approached.
With 3km to go, all the pre-race favorites were still in contention, and several teams started upping the pace, notably Canyon-SRAM, who had a number of strong sprinters, and Mitchelton-Scott, working for Amanda Spratt.
Trek-Segafredo lead out the field into the final kilometer, looking to set up Paternoster. However, Breannauer was able to sit in on their effort and navigate Wild into the perfect position, dropping her off to finish in a hugely impressive display of power.