Road

Gent-Wevelgem: Wout van Aert strongest in seven-man sprint

Van Aert wins after attritional day of crosswinds and cobbles, with Giacomo Nizzolo and Matteo Trentin also on the podium.

Wout van Aert was strongest in a seven-man sprint to win an attritional Gent-Wevelgem.

Van Aert won from a stellar selection that had ridden clear in the front echelon when the race split in crosswinds in the opening hours of the day.

After working well together through the race, the group of seven went into the final kilometer all together, with van Aert benefiting from having teammate Nathan van Hooydonk with him.

Van Hooydonk led out the final kick for the line, with Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) the first to respond, only for van Aert to hit the front a few seconds later with a huge muscling sprint. Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka Ass0s) moved onto the charging Belgian’s wheel but couldn’t make it past the Jumbo-Visma ace after nearly 250-kilometers of racing. Nizzolo claimed second, while Matteo Trentin (UAE Emirates) took third.

“This victory means a lot to me,” van Aert said. “I have already won many great races, but in the Flemish races I have often just missed it. I was waiting for this.”

“It was only a group of about 20 guys [since the race split in 180km remaining]. It’s a big group but you still have to do a lot of turns. The whole day in the crosswinds, it never stopped. This was a massive effort but definitely worth it.”

Crosswind carnage

The race split at 170km to go as the course moved toward the exposed plains near the North Sea. Strong winds ripped across the race and a front group of around 25 riders went clear in a front echelon. The lead selection included the final riders that went on to contest the closing stretch into Wevelgem, including van Aert and teammate van Hooydonk, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), Nizzolo, Trentin and Küng.

A chase group formed behind, which included Ag2r-Citroën pair Oliver Naesen and Greg van Avermaet. However, Deceuninck-Quick-Step duo Zdenek Stybar and Yves Lampaert were also in the pursuit and disrupted the chase where possible for teammate Bennett, who was in the front bunch.

Kemmelberg the kingmaker, Bennett blows

The second ascent of the extra-steep Kemmelberg saw the race shattering all over the road, with the lead group splitting in half as the main chase group began losing riders.

The lead group stayed together on the final ascent of the notorious berg to leave a nine-man showdown on the 35km stretch home to Wevelgem while the group of chasers remained stuck around one minute back.

Bennett was the first to be dropped out of the move as Jumbo-Visma sent van Hooydonk on a brief attack neutralized by Küng. The Irish sprinter had looked to be struggling since the final ascent of the Kemmelberg and the acceleration in the group was enough to see him crack.

Non-starters

The entire Bora-Hansgrohe and Trek-Segafredo teams did not start the race Sunday morning. The German squad unable to take part due to a COVID positive in the bubble earlier this week, while Trek-Segafredo – team of defending champ Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven – had to withdraw due to COVID positives found in the squad Friday night.

More information: COVID sees Bora-Hansgrohe and Trek-Segafredo withdraw from Gent Wevelgem

Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields ME Results

Stage
RankNameTeamTime
1VAN AERT WoutTeam Jumbo-Visma5:45:11
2NIZZOLO GiacomoTeam Qhubeka ASSOS0:00
3TRENTIN MatteoUAE-Team Emirates0:00
4COLBRELLI SonnyBahrain - Victorious0:00
5MATTHEWS MichaelTeam BikeExchange0:00
6KÜNG StefanGroupama - FDJ0:00
7VAN HOOYDONCK NathanTeam Jumbo-Visma0:03
8VAN BAARLE DylanINEOS Grenadiers0:52
9TURGIS AnthonyTeam Total Direct Energie0:54
10VERMEERSCH GianniAlpecin-Fenix1:25
11LECROQ JérémyB&B Hotels p/b KTM1:25
12VAN AVERMAET GregAG2R Citroën Team1:25
13BYSTRØM Sven ErikUAE-Team Emirates1:25
14LAMPAERT YvesDeceuninck - Quick Step1:25
15BAUER JackTeam BikeExchange1:25
16NAESEN OliverAG2R Citroën Team1:27
17DOULL OwainINEOS Grenadiers1:52
18GARCÍA CORTINA IvánMovistar Team1:56
19VAN GESTEL DriesTeam Total Direct Energie1:57
20VAN LERBERGHE BertDeceuninck - Quick Step1:57
21GOŁAŚ MichałINEOS Grenadiers2:00
22LEMOINE CyrilB&B Hotels p/b KTM2:00
23VAN POPPEL DannyIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux2:00
24ERVITI ImanolMovistar Team2:00
25ŠTYBAR ZdeněkDeceuninck - Quick Step2:04
26WALSCHEID Max2:22
27DEGENKOLB JohnLotto Soudal2:22
28KRISTOFF AlexanderUAE-Team Emirates2:22
29HAUSSLER HeinrichBahrain - Victorious2:22
30DE GENDT AiméIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux2:22
31VAN ASBROECK TomIsrael Start-Up Nation2:22
32STANNARD RobertTeam BikeExchange2:22
33CLAEYS DimitriTeam Qhubeka ASSOS2:22
34MERLIER TimAlpecin-Fenix2:22
35KRAGH ANDERSEN SørenTeam DSM3:19
36FRISON FrederikLotto Soudal4:18
37LE GAC OlivierGroupama - FDJ4:18
38PHILIPSEN JasperAlpecin-Fenix4:18
39GIBBONS RyanUAE-Team Emirates4:18
40RIESEBEEK OscarAlpecin-Fenix4:18
41DURBRIDGE LukeTeam BikeExchange4:18
42DUPONT TimothyBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB4:18
43RICKAERT JonasAlpecin-Fenix4:18
44DÉMARE ArnaudGroupama - FDJ4:18
45HOFSTETTER HugoIsrael Start-Up Nation4:18
46WYNANTS MaartenTeam Jumbo-Visma4:18
47ROOSEN TimoTeam Jumbo-Visma4:18
48MAS LluísMovistar Team4:18
49VAN MOER BrentLotto Soudal4:18
50BISSEGGER StefanEF Education - Nippo4:18
51MØRKØV MichaelDeceuninck - Quick Step4:18
52BALLERINI DavideDeceuninck - Quick Step4:18
53COQUARD BryanB&B Hotels p/b KTM4:18
54MCLAY DanielTeam Arkéa Samsic4:34
55BENNETT SamDeceuninck - Quick Step4:40
56RUTSCH JonasEF Education - Nippo8:36
57DEBUSSCHERE JensB&B Hotels p/b KTM8:36
58PETIT AdrienTeam Total Direct Energie11:24
59TERPSTRA NikiTeam Total Direct Energie11:24
60MENTEN MilanBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB11:24
61ZAKHAROV ArtyomAstana - Premier Tech11:24
62CONSONNI SimoneCofidis, Solutions Crédits11:24
63WILLEMS ThimoSport Vlaanderen - Baloise11:24
64HOLLMANN JuriMovistar Team11:24
65VAN POPPEL BoyIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux11:24
66STOKBRO AndreasTeam Qhubeka ASSOS11:24
67ZABEL RickIsrael Start-Up Nation11:24
68SIEBERG MarcelBahrain - Victorious11:24
69JACOBS JohanMovistar Team11:24
70BEULLENS CédricSport Vlaanderen - Baloise11:24
71VINJEBO EmilTeam Qhubeka ASSOS11:24
72GRUZDEV DmitriyAstana - Premier Tech11:24
73LIENHARD FabianGroupama - FDJ11:24
74BASSO LeonardoINEOS Grenadiers11:24
75DILLIER SilvanAlpecin-Fenix11:24
76MOLLY KennyBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB11:24
77DE BACKER BertB&B Hotels p/b KTM11:24
78LAPORTE ChristopheCofidis, Solutions Crédits11:24
79VAN EMDEN JosTeam Jumbo-Visma11:24
80EENKHOORN PascalTeam Jumbo-Visma11:24
81EEKHOFF NilsTeam DSM11:24
82SWIFT ConnorTeam Arkéa Samsic11:24
83STEELS StijnDeceuninck - Quick Step11:24
84VAN DEN BOSSCHE FabioSport Vlaanderen - Baloise11:24
85WARLOP JordiSport Vlaanderen - Baloise11:24
86CASTRIQUE JonasBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB11:24
87DRUCKER JempyCofidis, Solutions Crédits11:24
88PERRY BenjaminAstana - Premier Tech11:24
89SCHÄR MichaelAG2R Citroën Team11:24
90AMADOR AndreyINEOS Grenadiers11:24
91GHYS RobbeSport Vlaanderen - Baloise11:30

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.