Gent-Wevelgem gets shortened again, visits France
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gent-Wevelgem gets shortened again, visits France

by Bjorn Haake at 11:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 

Following a meeting between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the organizers of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the Gent-Wevelgem race on March 28 will be 219 kilometers long instead of the 257 kilometers initially scheduled. Due to changes in the racing calendar it was decided late last year to add 50 kilometers to the semi-classic, but this change has now been reversed.

Gent-Wevelgem used to take place on Wednesday, but starting this year it has been upgraded to a Sunday spot, sandwiched between Milano-Sanremo (March 20) and the Ronde van Vlaanderen (April 4). The organizers are happy with the move. "Gent-Wevelgem is now one of the six absolute top classics in the early part of the season: Milano-Sanremo, Gent-Wevelgem, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège," the organizers told Sporza.

To live up to it, the race was supposed to have the real Classics distance in 2010 of 250km or more. "But because this is a transitional year we decided to shorten the race. This in the interest of the racers; we expect a definitive decision for 2011."

The course itself was also changed. "We re-designed the finale for the most part," the organizers said. "There will be a loop in France, with a double passing of the Mont des Cats and the Mont Noir. There is now a total of 16 climbs, which should lead to a bigger selection the second time over the Kemmelberg than in the past."

Last year, Edvald Boason Hagen won the race after out-sprinting his breakaway companion Aleksandr Kuschynski. Boasson Hagen started to show what he is capable of doing with the boys, which he seems to confirm this year - today he won the stage in the Tour of Oman.

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