Gent - Wevelgem: March 28th, 2021

In spite of its name this classic will start in Ieper (Ypres) for the second time. The starting point will be the Menenpoort (Menin Gate), an important World War I monument. This 83rd edition will contain eleven climbs, but also the "Moeren" and the "plugstreets" in Ploegsteert. The final 34 km are flat. In this traditional echelon race wind is often an important factor. For Sunday they predict a Southwest wind.





Recent winners:
2011 Tom Boonen
2012 Tom Boonen
2013 Peter Sagan
2014 John Degenkolb
2015 Luca Paolini
2016 Peter Sagan
2017 Greg Van Avermaet
2018 Peter Sagan
2019 Alexander Kristoff
2020 Mads Pedersen

Multiple winners:
3x Van Eenaeme, Van Looy, Merckx, Cipollini, Boonen, Sagan

The women's race will take place for the tenth time. They will finish after the men, around 18.30h.



Former winners:
2012 Lizzie Armitstead
2013 Kirsten Wild
2014 Lauren Hall
2015 Floortje Mackaij
2016 Chantal Blaak
2017 Lotta Lepistö
2018 Marta Bastianelli
2019 Kirsten Wild
2020 Jolien D'hoore

Who will win this? The answer is blowin' in the wind.
 
It will be a hard race because of the wind (lot of wind tomorrow afternoon = havoc and echelons!)
While I only see strong riders surviving the echelons / Kemmel, I think an outsider is going to take this because the only team able to control the race (DQS) won't have a sprinter in the finale.
 
****Van Aert, Pedersen
***Ballerini, Matthews
**Bennett, Démare, Merlier, Kristoff, Van Avermaet, Pidcock
*Stuyven, Naesen, Lampaert, Trentin, Kragh Andersen, Küng, Degenkolb

Women:
***D'hoore, Kopecky, Deignan
**Vos, Wild, Brown
*Bastianelli, Uttrup, Pieters, Niewiadoma, Longo Borghini
 
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****Van Aert, Pedersen
***Ballerini, Matthews
**Bennett, Démare, Merlier, Kristoff, Van Avermaet, Pidcock
*Stuyven, Naesen, Lampaert, Trentin, Kragh Andersen, Küng, Degenkolb

Women:
***D'hoore, Kopecky, Deignan
**Vos, Wild, Brown
*Bastianelli, Uttrup, Pieters, Niewiadoma, Longo Borghini
Pretty bold putting Deignan on par with D'hoore and Kopecky. Libertine surely won't like it ;)
 
Ewan's calendar is Valenciana, then the 3 grand tours - Doubt he'll finish the Giro or the Vuelta - I am surprised he's defending his title at Schelderpris.
If you win Scheldeprijs, you'll get a big diamond. (that's an incentive).

Matthews should be OK. I heard in the live commentary that he crashed and the guy giving comments on the motorbike said he seemed fine.
 
I think MvdP needs some rest. It has been a busy period. WvA is riding, but it's his last race before Flanders.
MvdP will do Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday if I'm not mistaken.

Regarding favourites: If you have seen Pedersen struggling on the Taaienberg, you'd have to wonder what happened, and if it says something about how he wil fare on the Kemmelberg.
With the current wind, it will be superfast after the Kemmelberg. So it will be nearly impossible to control matters. Attacks will be flying left and right.
I'd give guys like Stuyven, Lampaert and Kung a fair chance.
 
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Ineos look like they've been barely been able to scrape a team together. Only six riders listed so far - Wurf, Basso, Amador, Doull, Van Baarle and Golas. Don't think Pidcock was ever down to ride this?

Florian Vermeersch is my outside bet for a good result tomorrow. 13th last year and hopefully he'll be able to ride his own race after finishing as the highest placed Lotto rider at E3
 

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