Cycling News

Lorena Wiebes wins Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields in a photo finish

Lorena Wiebes wins Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields in a photo finish

Lorena Wiebes beat Elisa Balsamo in a photo finish at Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, her second WorldTour triumph of the season and SD Worx-Protime’s fourth. Canadian champion Maggie Coles-Lyster rounded out the top 10 only a few days after she took 29th at Classic Brugge-De Panne, and Simone Boilard came 16th.

The throw to the line.

The Course

The seven climbs of the 2024 edition were lumped together in the fourth-fifth of the 171-km route. The riders would face Baneberg (1 km of 6.8 percent) and cobbled Kemmelberg (the second time 700 metres of 11 percent) twice, and these hills would be the final two before 34 km of flat roads into Wevelgem.

Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields Profile map by La Flamme Rouge.

Last year’s champion Marlen Reusser wore the #1 jersey. The top three riders in the WorldTour–world champion Lotte Kopecky, Basalmo and Elisa Longo Borghini–were on the start line, as was youth leader Puck Pieterse.

A breakaway of six riders pulled out a maximum gap of 5:30. Crosswinds caused echelons in the main peloton. Between the first trips up Baneberg and Scherpenberg, the fugitives were lassoed. Kopecky was the straw that stirred the drink. Longo-Borghini survived a crash with Grace Brown and made the selection on the first ascent of the Kemmelberg.

The seven-strong Kopecky-Longo Borghini-Balsamo gang was brought back before Baneberg II. The new grouping was 50 riders.

On the difficult Ossuaire side of the Kemmelberg, Kopecky led the charge up the cobbled incline. Her teammate Wiebes and Pfeiffer Georgi were able to go with her. Longo Borghini, teammate Shirin van Anrooij, Pieterse, and Karlijn Swinkels made up the closest chase, Reusser their anchor. They came across with 30 km to race.

Kopecky hammers up the Kemmelberg cobbles.

The Kopecky group couldn’t avoid the peloton and it all came back together with 26 km to the line. A Movistar’s Floortje Mackaij tried to dash free, Boilard tried her luck in bridging over. They were both reabsorbed.

Boilard at the business end of the peloton with 12 km to race.

Floortje Mackaij went again and again, and her teammate Emma Norsgard gave it a go as well. No dice.

In the reduced bunch sprint, Wiebes came off of Kopecky’s wheel and powered down the middle, Balsamo dashing down the right hand barrier. Neither knew who won but clasped hands.

The next round of the WorldTour is next Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

2024 Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields
1) Lorena Wiebes (The…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…