Gent-Wevelgem (BEL) - 11.04.2007
Gent-Wevelgem is known as the sprinters classic but riders need more than a fast finish to join the exclusive list of winners. The race route is almost completely flat but the section along the coast and the two climbs of the cobbled Kemmelberg always split the race and push the riders to their limit. Side winds and high speeds cause echelons to form along the coast while the slippery cobbles of both the climb and the descent of the Kemmelberg test the riders fitness and bike handling skills. In 2006 Norwayâ€™s Thor Hushovd showed he is more than just a sprinter with a perfect performance that ended with powerful surge to the line. Italyâ€™s Filippo Pozzato made a late attack two kilometres from the line but he only acted as a moving target for the other sprinters and was swept up in sight of the finish. Alessandro Petacchi lead out the sprint but Hushovd got past him and so did Germanyâ€™s David Kopp. Hushovd, Petacchi and Pozzato are all favourites for this yearâ€™s race on April 11 but will face stiff opposition from Tom Boonen (Quick Step), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Fabian Cancellara (CSC) and Luca Paolini (Liquigas). Of course the wind, rain and cobbles will decide the final winner.