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by Matt de Neef
March 27, 2017
In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Greg Van Avermaet wins men’s Gent-Wevelgem; Lotta Lepisto takes out women’s Gent-Wevelgem; Alejandro Valverde victorious in the Volta a Catalunya; Lilian Calmejane wins Coppi e Bartali; Edwin Avila takes opening-day honours in the Tour de Taiwan; Kristof Allegaert leads Indian Pacific Wheel Race towards Melbourne; Cadel Evans and George Hincapie win masters category at Cape Epic MTB race; Heinrich Haussler to miss the Spring Classics with ongoing knee injury; Bradley Wiggins on Sky’s ‘load of rubbish’ marginal gains philosophy; At 50, Mario Cipollini looks back on his career; Riders injured as car ‘drives into cycle race’ in Berlin; Trigger Happy’s angry cyclist on Comic Relief.
First, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 25. Then E3 Harelbeke, on Friday. And on Sunday, Gent-Wevelgem. By out-sprinting Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott), Greg Van Avermaet of BMC Racing has now won three Belgian classics this spring — only the second rider to win all three in the same season — and heads into next Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen as the five-star favorite.
After the final ascent of the steep and cobbled Kemmelberg, a 14-rider group formed with 30km remaining. Three riders from Quick-Step Floors were in the move, as well as two from Dimension Data and two from Sunweb.
Ten kilometers later, that group split, and the Olympic road champion attacked from a five-man group. Keukeleire followed, while behind, world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) looked for help from Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) to chase.
When he wouldn’t — Terpstra had two teammates in the chase group, and pre-race favorite Fernando Gaviria in the peloton — the gap to the two leaders shot up to 15 seconds, and the winning move had been made. Sagan won the three-rider sprint for third.
“I was not expecting to win Gent-Wevelgem, but I’m really happy,” Van Avermaet said. “It’s definitely the best start of the season that I’ve ever had. I’ve won three Classics already so it’s an amazing feeling. It’s never easy to win these races and normally Gent-Wevelgem isn’t so much of a race for me. I tried so many times to win here and now I’ve won three all in one season. It’s a wonderful feeling and it gives me extra confidence for Ronde van Vlaanderen.”
Click through to read more at CyclingTips.