WNT-Rotor’s Kirtsen Wild made it two wins from two sprints at Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday, taking her second WorldTour win of the year. In another powerful display, the Dutchwoman appeared invincible as she crossed the line well ahead of her rivals.
Behind her the young sprinters continued to shine, with Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) placing second and 19 year-old Italian Letizia Paternoster (Trek-Segafredo) taking her first WorldTour podium in third.
The bunch finish came at the end of a remarkably uneventful race, the peloton seemingly happy to leave it to the sprinters. A group of around 50 riders emerged from the race’s climbs to tackle the final windy final 30kms, and despite repeated attacks, nothing was able to stay clear.
Despite those few aggressive late breakaway attempts, a number of different teams controlled the front in the final, with Wild’s WNT-Rotor squad ever present. Trek-Segafredo in the shape of Ellen van Dijk led for much of the closing two kilometres, but Paternoster paid for launching her effort slightly too late.
However, her third place was enough for Trek-Segafredo to clinch only their second WorldTour podium, perhaps indicating the powerful squad are beginning to gel.
As if to illustrate the emergence of new, young talent, in five races so far this year three different women have led the WorldTour’s young rider classification. After finishing second in consecutive races, Lorena Wiebes now leads the competition, though Sofia Betizzolo (Virtu) remains to on her heels after giving up the jersey on Sunday after winning it last year.
How it happened
By the time the peloton left the Grote Markt in the centre of the Flemish town of Ypres the flags which had started the day merely fluttering were tugging at the pole and an aggressive race seemed install.
On the exposed opening loop north of the town the race stayed together, despite the wind whipping across the road, and even when a concerted effort from CCC-Liv after 30km resulted in splits, the race soon re-formed.
Six climbs peppered the latter half of the race, and it was Boels-Dolmans who led onto the first of two ascents of the Baneberg, though some were caught out, despite their pace the race stayed largely in one piece.
Even the opening ascents of the Kemmelberg and Monteberg failed to make a huge difference, though by the time the race had finished with two of the gravel ‘Plugstreets’ the race had formed into two distinct groups.
And that is how it stayed. German Romy Kasper (Alé-Cipollini) led briefly after attacking on the second climb of the Baneberg, but was caught immediately before the Kemmelberg, setting the scene for the high paced final.
Ghent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields: Ypres – Wevelgem (137km)
1. Kirsten Wild (Ned) WNT Rotor in 3-33-34
2. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg
3. Leitzia Paternoster (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Team Virtu
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans
6. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto-Soudal Ladies
7. Michela Balducci (Ita) AromItalia Vaiano
8. Elena Checchini (Ita) Canyon-SRAM
9. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Cylance
10. Marta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar-Cylance all at same time nbsp;