Home  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   Cyclocross   Track   News   Images    Feedback 


Past Winners




Start list
Live coverage

Time Table



2001 Gent-

2001 results


2002 World Cup

Milan - San Remo
Ronde van

Paris - Roubaix

Pearl Izumi
Lemond Bikes

64th Gent-Wevelgem - 1.HC

Belgium, April 10, 2002

2001 Results    Preview    Past winners    

Cipollini versus Zabel in mid-week classic

By Jeff Jones

Click for larger image
Dangerously close
Photo: © AFP

Positioned midway between the Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix is the semi-classic Gent-Wevelgem, which celebrates its 64th running this year. Starting near the centre of the "student city" of Gent, the race makes its way out to the west coast of Flanders via Brugge, passing through the coastal towns of Oostende, Koksijde and De Panne, before continuing south and inland via Poperinge to the Kemmelberg, the main climb of the race. The riders have to tackle this cobbled monster twice before they head back towards Wevelgem, with 207 kilometres in their legs.

This year, the Kemmelberg has been moved closer to the finish, but there is still 35 kilometres of flat terrain between the top of the Kemmel and Wevelgem. It is considered a sprinter's classic, although last year a break did manage to get away and deny the sprinters their glory.

Click for larger image
Can George do it again?
Photo: © AFP

At the end of that breakaway, George Hincapie (USPS) won an incredibly close sprint from Leon Van Bon to take his first ever classic victory, and he will be lining up in Gent's Citadelpark with at least some ambitions to defend his win. However, after a 4th place in last Sunday's Ronde, Hincapie's sights are clearly set on Paris-Roubaix this weekend. Again he will be aided by Lance Armstrong and the rest of the very capable US Postal team.

Should the peloton come back together after the Kemmelberg, there are two standouts in the field to take the bunch sprint. Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone) and Erik Zabel (Telekom) are two of the world's top sprinters, and while Mario got one over Erik for 9th place last Sunday, you can be sure that the battle will be close if first prize is on the line. It will be Mario's last appearance in the spring classics, and probably the last time we see him wearing the World Cup jersey this year.

Don't rule out 1996 winner Tom Steels (Mapei) either, who had a lot of bad luck in the Ronde but may be able to get it together for an unexpected win. Steels has some excellent support, if it comes down to it, with Stefano Zanini a handy reserve sprinter, along with Bodrogi, De Waele, Hunter, Nardello and Tafi.

The same goes for Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), winner of 10 races so far this year, although he has yet to open his account in Belgium. Fassa can also rely on Baldato, Konyshev, Ivanov, Bartoli and Petito.

Click for larger image
Danger man Zabel
Photo: © AFP

The Belgian teams Lotto-Adecco and Domo-Farm Frites are still smarting from Sunday's loss. Domo's Johan Museeuw's immediate reaction after coming 2nd in the Ronde was "I'll stop. This is my last race," or words to that effect. After drinking a bottle of wine with his DS Patrick Lefevere, talking it over with his wife, Veronique, and being bombarded by fans who say that he must go on, Johan will start both Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix.

In fact, Johan has threatened to retire so many times that it will be a shock when he finally does so. In 1996, seven days before winning the World Championships, he said he would hang up his wheels. Age hasn't wearied him, as evidenced last Sunday.

Don't forget Fred Rodriguez (Domo) either. The US champion is having a solid early season in the classics, and is often there when it counts.

Peter Van Petegem (Lotto) can also be considered amongst the favourites for Gent-Wevelgem, but there will have to be some serious action on the Kemmel if he is to get away in a small group. Lotto also have sprinter Stefan Van Dijk, who is not a match for Cipollini and Zabel, but may come in handy in the finale.

Nico Mattan, Chris Peers and Jo Planckaert will be on the line for Cofidis in Gent-Wevelgem. Peers must be facing the race with trepidation, as he was involved in a crash on the descent of the Kemmelberg last Wednesday during stage 2 of the Driedaagse van De Panne. He finished up so bruised and battered that he couldn't start in the Ronde. However, he's back tomorrow, with the help of wonder therapist Lieven Maesschalck.

Lampre-Daikin's hopes will rest on the affable Ludo Dierckxsens, who didn't have a brilliant day last Sunday. He too has his sights on Roubaix, and will be using this race more for training. Andrej Hauptman and Gianluca Bortolami are the men to look for in the Tacconi Sport colours, with the Slovenian Hauptman always up there in the sprints.

CSC-Tiscali would dearly love a classic win. They have former winner Geert Van Bondt, along with  Tristan Hoffman, Paul Van Hyfte, Nicolas Jalabert and Arvis Piziks - who was involved in last year's break. Team Coast's Lars Michaelsen won this race in 1995, and both he and Danish teammate Frank Høj are in good shape for this race.  

Watch out for Alessio as well. Ignored by the organisers of Flanders and Roubaix, the team of Dario Pieri, David Casarotti and Martin Hvastija should feature in the action. Finally, remember the name of Matthew Wilson (Francaise des Jeux). The Australian who was one of three Aussie 'Matts' in Flanders, finished 20th in his first outing there. Although Gent-Wevelgem may not be his style, we'll certainly see a lot more of him in future.

Past winners

2001  George Hincapie (USA) U.S. Postal Service    215 kms in 5.00.50
2000  Geert van Bondt (Bel) Farm Frites            214 kms in 5.01.03
1999  Tom Steels (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step            208 kms in 5.15.53
1998  Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi      208 kms in 5.21.21
1997  Philippe Gaumont (Fra)
1996  Tom Steels (Bel)
1995  Lars Michaelsen (Den)
1994  Wilfried Peeters (Bel)
1993  Mario Cipollini (Ita)
1992  Mario Cipollini (Ita)
1991  Djamolidine Abduschaparov (Usb)
1990  Herman Frison (Bel)
1989  Gerrit Solleveld (Ned)
1988  Sean Kelly (Ire)
1987  Teun Van Vliet (Ned)
1986  Guido Bontempi (Ita)
1985  Eric Vanderaerden (Bel)
1984  Guido Bontempi (Ita)
1983  Teun Van Vliet (Ned)
1982  Frank Hoste (Bel)
1981  Jan Raas (Ned)
1980  Henk Lubberding (Ned)
1979  Francesco Moser (Ita)
1978  Ferdinand Van den Haute (Bel)
1977  Bernard Hinault (Fra)
1976  Freddy Maertens (Bel)
1975  Freddy Maertens (Bel)
1974  Barry Hoban (GB)
1973  Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1972  Roger Swerts (Bel)
1971  Georges Pintens (Bel)
1970  Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1969  Willy Vekenmans (Bel)
1968  Walter Godefroot (Bel)
1967  Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1966  Herman Vanspringel (Bel)
1965  Noél De Pauw (Bel)
1964  Jacques Anquetil (Fra)
1963  Benoni Beheyt (Bel)
1962  Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1961  Frans Aerenhouts (Bel)
1960  Frans Aerenhouts (Bel)
1959  Leon Van Daele (Bel)
1958  Noél Fore (Bel)
1957  Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1956  Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1955  Alberic Schotte (Bel)
1954  Rolf Graf (Swi)
1953  Raymond Impanis (Bel)
1952  Raymond Impanis (Bel)
1951  André Rossel (Bel)
1950  Alberic Schotte (Bel)
1949  Marcel Kint (Bel)
1948  Valeré Ollivier (Bel)
1947  Maurice Desempelaere (Bel)
1946  Ernest Sterckx (Bel)
1945  Robert Van Eenaeme (Bel)
1939  André Declerck (Bel)
1938  Hubert Godart (Bel)
1937  Robert Van Eenaeme (Bel)
1936  Robert Van Eenaeme (Bel)
1935  Albert Debreitere (Bel)
1934  Gustave Van Belle (Bel)

Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com

back to top