2011 Gent – Wevelgem

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Have a look at Mitch Docker having a crack. What a champ!

Gent–Wevelgem is characterised by twisty roads, cobbled sections, ripping crosswinds, cold rain and short sharp hills. All the essential ingredients of a Flanders Classic. Up until last year the race was held on the Wednesday in-between the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix as part of the Flemish Cycling Week (or “Vlaamse Wielerweek”). Since 2010 the race been moved the Sunday prior to the Tour of Flanders along with an increased distance and difficulty by adding some additional climbs before the selective Kemmelberg.

Despite the its name, the race hasn’t started in Gent since 2004. The startline is now in the market square of Deinze. From what I hear from various people who have spent a lot of time in Gent, it is the only city on Earth that rivals Melbourne in terms of the size and quantity of their bunch rides. I think Melbourne can be proud of the flourishing cycling culture that’s been built up in recent years. I’ve never seen anything like it.

It’s great to see Boonen back in winning form. The only major races he’s won in the past two years are in Oman and Qatar which don’t really mean much in the scheme of things. I love watching him battle it out with Cancellara at Flanders and Roubaix – whether he wins or not.

I was having dinner with a mate of mine named Nick Mitchell a couple weeks ago and he was telling me an interesting story about Boonen in 2009. For the past few seasons Nick has racing in Belgium. Just before the World Championships Boonen was putting the final touches on his preparation and rocked up to the same kermesse as Nick. Boonen was incessantly attacking the peloton and finally a move stuck where Nick was able to follow. As they settled into a 50km/hr pace Boonen flicked his elbow signalling Nick to pull a turn. Nick was able to roll through for a couple of token turns, but that was all (and I know how strong Nick is!). After they got swept back into the bunch Boonen attacked again and managed to stay away with a small bunch for most of the race. Close to the end they got brought back by the peloton but Boonen still won the bunch kick after being in breakaways for almost the full 160km.

After the race Nick found out that Bonnen had also done 60km of motorpacing earlier that day, and motorpaced another 60km home. 280km for the day – HARD. That’s how hard these top level guys work when they’re preparing for the big races.

Check out the maps, photos and video of the 73rd edition of Gent Wevelgem. I wish I could be in Belgium at this time of year!

great to see Cookie back up there in the mix!

Offredo clips a photographer after the finish line and takes down Duque with him

There were high expectation put on Gossy coming into G-W, but unfortunately the planets didn’t align. I’d prefer to see him rest up for Flanders and Roubaix!

Gent Wevelgem 2011 Results

1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep 4:35:00
2 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek
3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Cervelo
4 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
5 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil-Shimano
7 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Highroad
8 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank
10 Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard

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