At the time of writing, Antoine Demoitié of Team Wanty-Gobert was in very serious condition in hospital after a crash in today’s Gent-Wevelgem. The details of the crash are sketchy but reports say that Demoitié crashed and then was hit by a moto. All our thoughts and hopes are with him and his family. I honestly hope that if I update this paragraph later, it’s to say that he is out of danger.
From a break of four that included Sep Vanmarcke, Viacheslav Kuznetsov (who finished second and third respectively) and Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan finally took his first win in the rainbow jersey with grit and panache. In the women’s GW, the Boels-Dolmans team continued its dominance with Chantal Blaack attacking with 10km to go for a solo win and earning the right to wear the Women’s World Tour jersey into next week’s RVV. Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) and Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) rounded out the podium.
Rider of the RaceEmbed from Getty Images
Fans everywhere gave a sigh of relief and Peter Sagan himself looked like the rainbow weight of the worlds had finally dropped from his shoulders as he crossed the finish line in triumph. Sagan set up his eventual victory by attacking on Kemmelberg, 35km from the finish, taking Cancellara and Vanmarcke with him, later catching Kuznetsov, who had taken a flyer off the front before the climb.
Zdenek Stybar, Luke Rowe and Greg Van Avermaet missed the move but worked together to give chase, but the front four were too strong. Even with the combined power of six Etixx riders – including Nikki Terpstra and Tom Boonen – putting the pedal to the metal in chase, there was no catching the break.
Under the flamme rouge, the four started looking at one another, everyone waiting for the other to start the sprint. In the end, it was Kuznetsov who jumped first in the last few hundred metres, followed by Sagan, who outpowered all three to take a well-deserved victory. After the stage, he dedicated his win to “the father of my love, because he’s having a hard time”. Flanders is next week – will that be the first Monument in Sagan’s palmares, we wonder?
1 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 5:55;12
2 Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) s/t
3 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha) s/t
4 Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) s/t
5 Arnaud Demare (FDJ) +0:11
6 Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) s/t
7 Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) s/t
8 Jacopo Guarnieri (Katusha) s/t
9 Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) s/t
10 Michael Morkov (Katusha) s/t
1 Chantal Blaak (Boels Dolmans) 2:56:00
2 Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) +1:24
3 Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv) s/t
4 Amy Pieters (Wiggle High5) s/t
5 Carmen Small (Cervelo Bigla) s/t
6 Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica-AIS) s/t
7 Leah Kirchmann (Team Liv-Plantur) s/t
8 Eleonora Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans) s/t
9 Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5) +1:27
10 Romy Kasper (Boels Dolmans) +1:32