The Frenchman Christophe Laporte has won the Belgian cycling race Gent-Wevelgem. The Dutch Jumbo-Visma team thus crowned the force majeure that was already expressed more than 50 kilometers from the finish. At the second crossing of the Kemmelberg, Laporte and his Belgian teammate Wout van Aert took off together, after which they extended their lead to about 2 minutes.
In the finish line it turned out that Laporte (30) was allowed to win. Van Aert had already been the best in the E3 Saxo Classic on Friday. The Belgian Sep Vanmarcke sprinted to third place. Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) was the first Dutchman in eighth place.
About 10 kilometers before the finish there had been a brief meeting between the two leaders. “Wout asked if I wanted to win. Unbelievable that you can do it this way,” said the 30-year-old Frenchman. “Wout was stronger than me. I owe this victory to him.”
Long before the hill zone, a leading group of fourteen riders had formed, including the Dutchmen Mike Teunissen and Elmar Reinders. With a lead of one and a half minutes, they reached the first crossing of the Kemmelberg, where a foursome went in pursuit with the Belgian Nathan Van Hooydonck and the Slovenian Matej Mohoric. Not much later, Van Hooydonck’s teammate Laporte and the Dane Søren Kragh Andersen, among others, joined.
After a general fusion, the race actually started again at the second crossing of the Kemmelberg. There Van Aert and Laporte accelerated and no one could follow. Behind the two, a battle for third podium place ensued in the final phase. The Dane Mikkel Bjerg tried to break away, Florian Vermeersch and Sep Vanmarcke joined. The latter won the sprint for 3rd place.
Laporte was extremely delighted with his win. “It was always a dream to win a classic and a stage in the Tour de France. I already had that last one. But in classics I had only finished second twice. “That was last year in the E3 Saxo Classic and in Ghent -Wevelgem.
Van Aert awarded his teammate the victory. “We drove on until 10 kilometers before the finish line. Then we were sure that one of us was going to win. I was already the winner on Friday and I am especially looking at the races to come. Christophe had a difficult start to the season due to illness, but the ‘team player’ that he is just deserved this.”
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