Wiebes sprints to victory on Vanackerestraat

Wiebes sprints to victory on Vanackerestraat

Road  24/03/2024

Lorena Wiebes (Team SD Worx - Protime) has won Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields for the first time. The Dutch rider was the best in a bunch sprint on Vanackerestraat in Wevelgem, beating Balsamo by the width of a tyre. Consonni was third.  

At 13:15, the women set off from the historic Grote Markt in Ypres in their 13th edition of Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields. After just 15 minutes of racing, a leading group of 6 riders had quickly formed. Julie Van de Velde (AG Insurance-Soudal), Anniina Ahtosalo (Uno-X Mobility), Giorgia Vettorello (Roland), Lieke Nooijen, (Visma I Lease a Bike), Amandine Fouquenet (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) and Laura Molenaar (VolkerWessels) provided a lively start to the race and built up a lead of more than 6 minutes.  

After 49 km of racing, it was the world champion who went on the attack in De Moeren. The pace increased, leading to breaks in the peloton. After the passage in De Moeren, the leading group started to lose their advantage. Driven by SD Worx Protime, the peloton reeled in the 6 riders in the break about 80 km from the finish. 

After the regrouping and with 65 km to go, the peloton began to address the climbs/inclines of the Heuvelland. On the ascent of Baneberg and Monteberg, it was again the world champion who showed how good her legs were as she applied the gas. Just after the first passage on the Kemmelberg, an elite group rode away from the peloton. With Kopecky, Wiebes, Balsamo & Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek), Georgi (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Persico (UAE team ADQ) and Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck), the race seemed to be entering a decisive phase, but just before the second passage on the Kemmelberg the peloton came together again.  

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On the last and steepest climb of the Kemmelberg, Kopecky pulled strongly again, with only her teammate Wiebes and Georgi able to follow in her tracks. This attack also petered out and once again the peloton came together.  

There was one more breakaway in the final 2 km. This time it was Grace Brown (FDJ-Suez). For a fleeting moment she seemed to have surprised the peloton, but in the final kilometre her lead evaporated metre by metre. A bunch sprint would eventually decide the day’s winner. In this, world champion Kopecky put herself entirely at the service of Wiebes.  The Dutch rider sprinted woman to woman with Balsamo and with a final jump Wiebes secured her first Gent-Wevelgem. Consonni (UAE Team ADQ) took the sprint for third place. 

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