Mar 26, 2023 at 4:52 PMUpdate: 2 minutes ago
Christophe Laporte won a soaking wet edition of Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. The Frenchman was awarded the victory by his teammate Wout van Aert after an impressive coup by Jumbo-Visma.
Van Aert and Laporte attacked at 52 kilometers from the finish. The Jumbo-Visma duo then started a couples time trial and ran further and further ahead of the chasing group towards the finish.
Van Aert and Laporte were not taken back and were allowed to compete for victory in Wevelgem. The two decided not to sprint. The Belgian awarded his teammate the first victory in a classic. Laporte won a stage in the Tour de France earlier in his career.
Sep Vanmarcke won the sprint of the chasing group in less than two minutes and finished third. Jumbo-Visma talent Olav Kooij was the best Dutchman in eighth place and Danny van Poppel was one place behind.
For Jumbo-Visma it was the second victory in a classic in three days. On Friday, Van Aert won the E3 Saxo Classic for the second year in a row, ahead of Mathieu van der Poel and Tadej Pogacar.
Christophe Laporte and Wout van Aert rode away on the Kemmelberg more than 50 kilometers from the finish. Photo: Getty Images
Teunissen and Van Avermaet in early flight
In the 85th edition of Gent-Wevelgem, a leading group of eight riders quickly formed, including Greg Van Avermaet. They were joined by eight others after more than 100 kilometers. Two Dutchmen belonged to that group, Mike Teunissen and Elmar Reinders.
The refugees drove ahead for a long time in the rain, but did not get too much head start from the peloton led by Jumbo-Visma. Fabio Jakobsen chased for a while, but he failed to close the gap to the leading group.
With 54 kilometers to go, the escapees’ adventure was over, after which Van Aert and Laporte struck on the Kemmelberg. The Jumbo-Visma riders had a gap in no time and continued to expand that lead.
Van Aert and Laporte rode an impressive time trial in pairs and at 40 kilometers from the finish the difference with the pursuers was already one minute. They quickly extended the lead to two minutes, making it clear that they could compete for victory.
The image in the streets of Wevelgem was very reminiscent of last year’s E3 Saxo Bank Classic. Even then, Van Aert and Laporte were by far the best together, and the Belgian was the first to cross the finish line. This time Laporte got the favor in return.