The preliminary list of participants in Gent-Wevelgem - In Flanders Fields features the names of Gaviria, Viviani, Démare, Degenkolb and Van Avermaet: fast and strong men who will compete against last year’s winner, Peter Sagan. The Slovakian is racing for a record-breaking fourth victory in Wevelgem on 31 March.
Not only will the wind in De Moeren and the dust of the Plugstreets will be obstacles to Peter Sagan’s Bora-hansgrohe team on Sunday 31 March. In fact, at the start in Deinze there will also be 24 other teams, with strong riders, going against Sagan.
The two cyclists who flanked Sagan on the podium in Wevelgem last year are again competing this year. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama FDJ), second and third respectively in 2018, will be trying for victory once more. Viviani couldn’t hold back his tears after his second place in 2018. On his way to Wevelgem, the Italian wil line-up at the race alongside this year’s winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Zdenek Stybar, whilst also counting on the experience of team mate Philippe Gilbert. The strength in depth of the Deceuninck – Quick-Step roster is bolstered by fast man Fabio Jakobsen, winner of last year’s Scheldeprijs.
Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) know how to win in Wevelgem, and are both looking to add a second victory to their palmares. Van Avermaet will benefit from the support of his compatriot Van Keirsbulck. Degenkolb will be accompanied by the Belgians Jasper Stuyven and Edward Theuns. Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First), Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Jens Keukeleire (Lotto Soudal) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo - Visma) are also set to race on Belgian home soil.
According to the preliminary start list, UAE Team Emirates will be sending its fast finishers to the race with Gaviria and Kristoff. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) and European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) will be the Italian riders to watch in Flanders.
Mathieu van der Poel will make his Flanders Classics debut with wildcard Corendon-Circus. Meanwhile Niki Terpstra leads the way for the French Direct Energie team.