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by Mark Zalewski
March 25, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Van Avermaet sprints Gilbert to win Flanders warm-up in Harelbeke; Valverde wins Catalunya queen stage, takes lead; Skujinš wins Coppi e Bartali stage, takes over lead; Multiple crashes in E3 Harelbeke; Owain Doull says current Sky riders should not be rolled into doping controversy; Patrick Lefevere ‘Founder of Gent-Wevelgem turning in his grave’; Sean Kelly on how to reform cycling; Women’s E3 Harelbeke in 2018?; Two SEG Racing Academy riders sidelined with injuries; Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic will run in 2017; Irish company turns to crowdfunding to broadcast domestic events; Video: Dr. Mitch Anderson’s 12hr World Record.
Quick-Step Floors boss Patrick Lefevere did not mince words when asked about the changes to Gent-Wevelgem this year, calling the addition of unpaved sections known as plug streets “completely ridiculous.”
Lefevre prefers the traditional parcours of paved roads for Ghent-Wevelgem.
“One Strade Bianche is enough,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “The riders must rebel against this. Otherwise it never stops.”
Lefevere is referring to the recent trend of races turning to unpaved roads to spice up their events. Races like Tro-Bo-Léon and Schaal Sels have gained attention for this reason, and Strade Bianche hangs its hat on the white gravel roads around Sienna.
Even the Tour de France has jumped on the bandwagon, using pavé and gravel sections on some stages in recent editions. The plug streets in Ploegsteert will come about 60km from the finish of Gent-Wevelgem.
“This has nothing to do with road racing. Suppose that the peloton stays together and a group of 150 rides through the narrow roads. Is that what the organizers want to see? I think Georges Matthys, one of the founders of the course, turns over in his grave.”
Click through to read more at Het Nieuwsblad.