Flat out, ballsy, emotional, bergs and Plugstreets – what more can a cycling fan ask for?
Volta a Catalunya Stage 7: Barcelona, 154.8km
The classic hilly Montjac circuit finale provided the thrills and very unfortunately the spills on the final Stage. Simon Yates‘ (Mitchelton-Scott) gutsy attack grabbed the stage victory from a feisty Marc Soler (Movistar) and very nearly a place on the GC podium. Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) gritted his teeth big time to take the sprint for third on the day and third overall. Second place at the start of the stage, Sky’s prodigious talent Egan Arley Bernal was involved in a terrible crash and had to abandon the race. Final GC: Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Latour.
Video. We pick it up on the last lap with 7km to go.
Gent-Wevelgems: Deinze to Wevelgem, 251km (men). Ieper to Wevelgem, 142.6km (women)
Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) took his third Gent-Wevelgem title in a reduced bunch sprint. His better positioning and flat out SPEED in the last 200m gave him the edge over Quick Step Floors’ Elia Viviani – who was inconsolable at the finish after his team kept everything together on the run to the line. Arnaud Demare (Groupama – FDJ) placed third.
The women’s race also came down to a sprint with Marta Bastinelli (Ale-Cipollini) taking victory with a powerful sprint after a killer lead out by teammate Chloe Hoskins. Mitchelton Scott’s Jolien D’hoore was agonisingly close in second place and Lisa Klein (Canyon SRAM) rounded out the podium.
Top of the World…
The hardest place to be…
Quick Step Floors explain exactly what it means, and exactly why we love this sport – it’s a must read.
Rounding out the podium…
“I am really happy and pleased. It was my first goal of the season to be in the best shape possible for Gent Wevelgem and Flanders,” – Lisa Klein
The race hinged on the killer combination of the Kemmelberg, the three Plugstreets sectors and especially the final Kemmelberg ascent. With Quick Step Floors accelerating into the climbs (and WOW Philippe Gilbert was immense – AGAIN) and BMC hammering along off road, a lot of favourites found themselves out of contention and chasing the game.
With the chase group making very little headway we were treated to a Scandinavian flavoured triple train as Michael Valgren, Magnus Cort and Alexander Kristoff took matters into their own hands and attempted to bridge the minute gap. They never made it, but the effort and strength that must have took is to be applauded.
“I was expecting to be there. I didn’t miss [by] much. It was maybe one car length after the Kemmelberg. But this car length got to two car lengths and then four car lengths. And then at the end, it was around a minute,” Alexander Kristoff
No one likes to see crashes and we are glad to report Mitch appears to have escaped with ‘just’ the usual cuts and grazes. But I did like the poetic nature of the tweet, and the sight of the rider just sat on the doorstep – so very Belgian racing somehow.
The link with the Flanders battlefields is never far away in this race…
The Flanders Classic group organise seven races in one day for Gent Wevelgem. We’ve seen the elite men’s and women’s podiums, here are the other five…
At the end of the day, ALL the winners are invited to the stage for one last victory salute – I LOVE that. Chapeau and thank you Gent-Wevelgem 2018.
Header image: Elite men’s podium at Gent-Wevelgem