The 2010 edition and the 72nd running of the Gent-Wevelgem goes this Sunday, March 28th. If you’ve missed out on the Gent-Wevelgem in the past, don’t be surprised, as the race has historically been scheduled on the Wednesday between the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Paris-Roubaix. That was until this year, when organizers of the Gent-Wevelgem moved the race to the week before the bigger cobbled classics for the first time since it’s inception in 1934 in order to attract a more elite field.
The Gent-Wevelgem is to Flanders what the Milan-San Remo is to Italy, just with added cobbles, insane descents, awful weather, dangerously thin roads and the 23% Kemmelberg climb. It’s called a sprinters classic’ but it’s rarely disputed by more than a small group of elite sprinters who make it over the numerous climbs and cobbled sections, only to battle it out on the flat terrain in a sprint finish. In fact, it’s rarely even won by a sprinter. Last years 203km Gent-Wevelgem was won by the young Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen.
The race, as it has for years, actually starts in Deinze, as opposed to Gent, and heads west toward the coast before looping back east after 65km just outside the city of Vuerne. With a total of 16 slopes within a short section of 60km, the Gent-Wevelgem is a race which builds in difficulty and drama. The awe-inspiring 23% Kemmelberg climb, is ridden twice, first at km 143 and then again at km 184, and will be decisive in sorting a selection of the best riders on the day to battle for the finish. After a breathtaking final 35 km, the riders will finish in the Vanackerestraat in Wevelgem.