Gent Wevelgem preview

Official website
Cycling Fever startlist
PCS page

Some footage may be shown during or after the stinky pooey men’s race on Sporza. It’s unclear whether there’ll be any proper highlights.

The route seems to be slightly different to the one in the official roadbook and on the website. This is the route with profile that the most recent itinerary shows;

Cronoescalada link http://www.cronoescalada.com/index.php/tracks/view/276921

146km, of which around 46km at the start is made up of 4 laps of a circuit. This widens and narrows considerably, from tarmac to pathways, so there’ll be plenty of fighting for position (and hopefully not too many crashes). The route then moves to the first set of cobbles around 55km at Ypres, with a short respite before two loops of a circuit that takes in the Kemmelberg (70km and 100km), Monteberg (74km and 104km) and Baneberg (92km). There are a few sharp little climbs on the way to the last run into Wevelgem, so if there’s any breakaway at this point then they will have to dig deep to keep away.

The weather will sunny and reach 15°C, however a southerly wind of around 17km with gusts may be a deciding factor in the last 20km.

Boels Dolman are with last year’s winner Blaak, and Pieters. Wiggle H5 don’t have anyone who’s had good results here in recent years. D’hoore is likely their best bet. WM3 bring Niewiadoma, who I think is doing this race for the first time. Tenniglo and Kitchen may also have a crack. Lares Waowdeals have one of the favourites,  T de Jong (not to be confused with her sister Demi who is in the Parkhotel Valkenburg team here. Lensworld Kuota bring Confalonieri and Hannes. J Druyt of SV Guill D’or seems to be having a better start to the year than sister Kelly, so she may be their better chance here. Lotto Soudal Ladies are in the same boat as Wiggle, but Kopecky has clearly stepped up a gear this year so that may be irrelevant. Veloconcept continue their ninja like progress with Mustonen and Siggaard. Cervelo Bigla have Lepisto. Cylance bring a strong support for Gutierrez. FDJ have Knetteman, who has had reasonable results here. Canyon SRAM are with Brennauer, H Barnes and Cecchini. Hitec may surprise with Andersen, with Kessler and Moberg. Parkhotel Valkenburg are with van Gogh. Ale Cipollini have Ensing and Hosking. Sunweb have Mackaij and Brand, plus maybe van Dijk. Orica have van Vleuten and Elvin. Drops have Zorzi, who’s had good results here before, along with Duyck. The line up is completed by BTC City Ljubljana, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo, SAS Macogep, Bizkaia Durango, BePink and Astana.

A well rounded line up without a shadow of a doubt. Ensing, T de Jong and van Vleuten are standing out for me but I really do think a lot of the names above have as good a chance as they do.