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Gent–Wevelgem logo.svg
Race details
Date Late March
Region Flanders, Belgium
English name Ghent-Wevelgem
Local name(s) Gent–Wevelgem (Dutch)
Nickname(s) Ghent-Bubblegum
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type One-day
Race director Luc Gheysens
First edition 1934 (1934)
Editions 77 (as of 2015)
First winner  Gustave Van Belle (BEL)
Most wins  Robert Van Eenaeme (BEL)
 Rik Van Looy (BEL)
 Eddy Merckx (BEL)
 Mario Cipollini (ITA)
 Tom Boonen (BEL)
(3 wins)
Most recent  Luca Paolini (ITA)

The Gent–Wevelgem is a Flanders Classics cycle road race held in Belgium in late March each year. The event was first run in 1934, and it is often called the sprinters' classic due to its flat finishing terrain.[1] Its early-season date means riders are often tested by wind and rain. Further challenges include a number of climbs, including two ascents of the cobbled, and difficult Kemmelberg.

The selectivity of the course means that very few editions of Gent–Wevelgem actually end in a bunch sprint. A small group (including some sprinters) often contest the finish line. In recent years, the race has been situated on the Wednesday between de Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix, and while not officially part of the Vlaamse Wielerweek (Flemish cycling week), it can be seen as an unofficial finale of the series of cycling classics in Flanders.

Despite its name, the race hasn't started in Ghent since 2004, traditionally beginning on the market square of nearby Deinze. The course then sets westward towards the Belgian coastal region, after which it moves southwards near the French border towards the Monteberg and Kemmelberg, before heading towards Wevelgem.

Since 2005 the race has been part of the UCI ProTour,[1] and since 2009, part of the UCI World Ranking calendar. In 2010 the fixed date of the race shifted from the Wednesday after the Tour of Flanders to the Sunday before.[2] The 73rd edition was held on 27 March 2011 and covered 219 kilometres. Since 2012 it has included a women's race.


The first edition was played on 9 September 1934 as a junior race for a distance of 120 km. Its origin is a tribute to Gaston Rebry (a native of Wevelgem) who in that year won the Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix. After the Second World War, it became a race for professionals, the edition of 29 July 1945 run over a distance of 200 km. and organised, as it is to this day, by the cycling club "Het Wiel Vliegende".

In 1947 the Gent–Wevelgem moved to the "spring classics" time of year and became part of the Trofee van Vlaanderen (Trophy of Flanders), from 1957–1959, alongside the Omloop Het Volk.

The competition started in 2004, despite the name, not in Ghent but in nearby Deinze. Gent–Wevelgem is the first race toward the coast, which ends must be followed. Near Veurne the winds broke open the game normally. Because of the often strong winds on the flat Flemish roads the race often develop fans. The main obstacle is the Kemmelberg, a difficult climb with cobblestones which must be climbed twice, but equally notorious for its dangerous descent, where many a cyclist dropped. Often is the two-part Monteberg Kemmelberg the breakpoint of the match. Furthermore, the relatively flat trail, which is often in Wevelgem race ends in a sprint of a small group or a larger group.

From the 2008 edition, the route was substantially modified, and the riders no longer go along the coast, but detour along the Steenstraat (Bovekerke-Werken) and then approach Veurne from the polders in place from the direction of the coast. Then comes the hill zone, with the Vidaigneberg, the Rodeberg (Belgium), Monteberg (to the summit and then left), a detour and Kemmelberg approached from the village of Kemmel. The descent is made along a detour to rebuilt the dangerous descent and avoid potential crashes. Then this hill area repeated in the same order and then drive toward Wevelgem. The new trail has been adopted by most riders. Some believed that the launching of the Kemmelberg nervous, but this is according to race director Hans De Clercq normal and part of the course.

In 2010 another major change was made. The date of the race was changed from the Wednesday between the Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix to the Sunday before the Tour of Flanders. Also, many more slopes were inserted before the Kemmel climb: Scherpenberg, Katsberg, Berthen, Zwarteberg, Baneberg, Rodeberg and then Monteberg and Kemmelberg. The riders climb this series of hills twice before cycling towards the finish in Wevelgem.

It is currently held on the Sunday before the Tour of Flanders, and although not officially part of the Flemish Cycling Week, can be seen as a final unofficial series of classics in Flanders.

From 2005 to 2010, the race was part of the UCI ProTour and from 2010, part of the UCI World Tour.

Route history[edit]

The Kemmelberg is the main obstacle in Gent-Wevelgem

The first race was in 1934, and was held for junior riders. The second edition in 1935 (also for juniors) went through the Flemish Ardennes with climbs such as the Kwaremont, Kluisberg and Tiegemberg.

From 1936 to 1939 the race opened to independent amateur riders. It went directly from Ghent and Kortrijk then followed local rounds including the significant Lauwberg.

In 1945, after the Second World War, Ghent-Wevelgem became a race for professionals. A completely new route passed through the Flemish Ardennes to Wevelgem and then looped by the Flemish Heuvelland. The Edelareberg, Hoppenberg, Kwaremont, Zwarteberg (Black Mountain) and Rodeberg (Red Mountain) featured along the way. In 1947 and 1948 the route followed the coast.

From 1949 to 1954 the Flemish Ardennes (Calvarieberg, Kwaremont) returned, followed by the Heuvelland (Rodeberg, Vidaigneberg, Slope of Mesen). In 1955 the Kluisberg and Kemmelberg were added. The road on the Kemmelberg was still unpaved. In 1956 the Eikenberg was included.

In 1957, Tour of Flanders, Omloop Het Volk, and Gent–Wevelgem were raced together, and riders vied for a joint prize, the "Trophy of Flanders". At this time, the Gent–Wevelgem added climbs in French Flanders (Zwarteberg, Catsberg, Wouwenberg, Kasselberg) as precursors to the Kemmelberg. In 1958, these Franco-Flemish climbs were not included: the border crossing meant too many administrative burdens. After the run-up to the coast, the route followed only the Rodeberg, Vidaigneberg and Kemmelberg in the Heuvelland.

In 1960 scheduling conflicts marked the end of the Trophy of Flanders. At this time the lower prestige Gent–Wevelgem placed itself between more famous classics. This year, besides the climbs of Geraardsbergen, Kwaremont, and Kluisberg and Tiegemberg in the Flemish Ardennes, are the Vidaigneberg, Kemmelberg and Slope of Mesen in the Heuvelland.

In 1961 the Gent–Wevelgem implemented a two-day course. The first day of the Ghent and Antwerp to Gent–Wevelgem half days with only slopes in the Heuvelland (Rodeberg, Vidaigneberg, Kemmelberg, Slope of Mesen).

From 1962 to 1976 Gent–Wevelgem was raced via the coast to the Heuvelland, with the Rodeberg, Vidaigneberg and Kemmelberg as fixed venues, sometimes supplemented with Monteberg, Baneberg, Sulferberg, Goeberg, Suikerberg (Sugar Mountain), as well as the climbs of Nieuwkerke, Geluveld, Kraaiberg or Scherpenberg. This also applies to the years 1978 to present. In the period 1993 to 1995, the Franco-Flemish slopes were again inserted, but in 1996 the traditional route was restored. The Flemish Ardennes are not affected because the roots of Gent–Wevelgem and because the riders wanted to keep it.

In 1977 the course changed radically and the Flemish Ardennes was done with 11 significant climbs (including Edelareberg, Kattenberg, Varent, Kluisberg and Tiegemberg). Also in the 1976 Tour of Flanders with the Koppenberg was on the race calendar, while the Steengat climb featured in Gent–Wevelgem.


Rider Team
1934 Belgium Belle, Gustave VanGustave Van Belle (BEL)
1935 Belgium Depreitre, AlbertAlbert Depreitre (BEL)
1936 Belgium Eenaeme, Robert VanRobert Van Eenaeme (BEL)
1937 Belgium Eenaeme, Robert VanRobert Van Eenaeme (BEL)
1938 Belgium Godart, HubertHubert Godart (BEL)
1939 Belgium Declerck, AndreAndré Declerck (BEL)
No race
1945 Belgium Eenaeme, Robert VanRobert Van Eenaeme (BEL)
1946 Belgium Sterckx, ErnestErnest Sterckx (BEL) Alcyon
1947 Belgium Desimpelaere, MauriceMaurice Desimpelaere (BEL) Alcyon
1948 Belgium Ollivier, ValereValère Ollivier (BEL)
1949 Belgium Kint, MarcelMarcel Kint (BEL)
1950 Belgium Schotte, BriekBriek Schotte (BEL) Alcyon
1951 Belgium Rosseel, AndreAndré Rosseel (BEL)
1952 Belgium Impanis, RaymondRaymond Impanis (BEL)
1953 Belgium Impanis, RaymondRaymond Impanis (BEL)
1954 Switzerland Graf, RolfRolf Graf (SUI)
1955 Belgium Schotte, BriekBriek Schotte (BEL) Alcyon
1956 Belgium Looy, Rik VanRik Van Looy (BEL)
1957 Belgium Looy, Rik VanRik Van Looy (BEL)
1958 Belgium Fore, NoelNoel Fore (BEL)
1959 Belgium Daele, Léon VanLéon Van Daele (BEL)
1960 Belgium Aerenhouts, FransFrans Aerenhouts (BEL)
1961 Belgium Aerenhouts, FransFrans Aerenhouts (BEL)
1962 Belgium Looy, Rik VanRik Van Looy (BEL)
1963 Belgium Beheyt, BenoniBenoni Beheyt (BEL)
1964 France Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA)
1965 Belgium Pauw, Noel DeNoel De Pauw (BEL)
1966 Belgium Springel, Herman VanHerman Van Springel (BEL)
1967 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Peugeot
1968 Belgium Godefroot, WalterWalter Godefroot (BEL)
1969 Belgium Vekemans, WillyWilly Vekemans (BEL)
1970 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Faema
1971 Belgium Pintens, GeorgesGeorges Pintens (BEL)
1972 Belgium Swerts, RogerRoger Swerts (BEL)
1973 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni
1974 United Kingdom Hoban, BarryBarry Hoban (GBR)
1975 Belgium Maertens, FreddyFreddy Maertens (BEL) Flandria-Carpenter
1976 Belgium Maertens, FreddyFreddy Maertens (BEL) Flandria-Carpenter
1977 France Hinault, BernardBernard Hinault (FRA) Gitane-Campagnolo
1978 Belgium Haute, Ferdi Van DenFerdi Van Den Haute (BEL)
1979 Italy Moser, FrancescoFrancesco Moser (ITA) Sanson
1980 Netherlands Lubberding, HenkHenk Lubberding (NED) TI-Raleigh
1981 Netherlands Raas, JanJan Raas (NED) TI-Raleigh
1982 Belgium Hoste, FrankFrank Hoste (BEL) TI-Raleigh
1983 Netherlands Vliet, Leo vanLeo van Vliet (NED) TI-Raleigh
1984 Italy Bontempi, GuidoGuido Bontempi (ITA) Carrera-Inoxpran
1985 Belgium Vanderaerden, EricEric Vanderaerden (BEL) Panasonic
1986 Italy Bontempi, GuidoGuido Bontempi (ITA) Carrera-Inoxpran
1987 Netherlands Vliet, Teun vanTeun van Vliet (NED) Panasonic
1988 Republic of Ireland Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) Kas
1989 Netherlands Solleveld, GerritGerrit Solleveld (NED) Superconfex-Yoko
1990 Belgium Frison, HermanHerman Frison (BEL) Histor-Sigma
1991 Soviet Union Abdoujaparov, DjamolidineDjamolidine Abdoujaparov (URS) Carrera Jeans-Tassoni
1992 Italy Cipollini, MarioMario Cipollini (ITA) GB-MG
1993 Italy Cipollini, MarioMario Cipollini (ITA) GB-MG
1994 Belgium Peeters, WilfriedWilfried Peeters (BEL) GB-MG
1995 Denmark Michaelsen, LarsLars Michaelsen (DEN) Festina-Lotus
1996 Belgium Steels, TomTom Steels (BEL) Mapei-GB
1997 France Gaumont, PhilippePhilippe Gaumont (FRA) Cofidis
1998 Belgium Vandenbroucke, FrankFrank Vandenbroucke (BEL) Mapei-Bricobi
1999 Belgium Steels, TomTom Steels (BEL) Mapei-Quick Step
2000 Belgium Bondt, Geert VanGeert Van Bondt (BEL) Farm Frites
2001 United States Hincapie, GeorgeGeorge Hincapie (USA) US Postal
2002 Italy Cipollini, MarioMario Cipollini (ITA) Acqua e Sapone-Cantina Tollo
2003 Germany Klier, AndreasAndreas Klier (GER) Team Telekom
2004 Belgium Boonen, TomTom Boonen (BEL) Quick Step-Davitamon
2005 Belgium Mattan, NicoNico Mattan (BEL) Davitamon-Lotto
2006 Norway Hushovd, ThorThor Hushovd (NOR) Crédit Agricole
2007 Germany Burghardt, MarcusMarcus Burghardt (GER) T-Mobile Team
2008 Spain Freire, OscarÓscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank
2009 Norway Hagen, Edvald BoassonEdvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Team Columbia-High Road
2010 Austria Eisel, BernhardBernhard Eisel (AUT) Team HTC-Columbia
2011 Belgium Boonen, TomTom Boonen (BEL) Quick Step
2012 Belgium Boonen, TomTom Boonen (BEL) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
2013 Slovakia Sagan, PeterPeter Sagan (SVK) Cannondale
2014 Germany Degenkolb, JohnJohn Degenkolb (GER) Giant-Shimano
2015 Italy Paolini, LucaLuca Paolini (ITA) Team Katusha

Multiple winners[edit]

Riders in italic are still active

Wins Rider Country Editions
3 Robert Van Eenaeme  Belgium 1936, 1937, 1945
Rik Van Looy  Belgium 1956, 1957, 1962
Eddy Merckx  Belgium 1967, 1970, 1973
Mario Cipollini  Italy 1992, 1993, 2002
Tom Boonen  Belgium 2004, 2011, 2012
2 Raymond Impanis  Belgium 1952, 1953
Briek Schotte  Belgium 1950, 1955
Frans Aerenhouts  Belgium 1960, 1961
Freddy Maertens  Belgium 1975, 1976
Guido Bontempi  Italy 1984, 1986
Tom Steels  Belgium 1996, 1999

Wins per country[edit]

Wins Country
48  Belgium
7  Italy
5  Netherlands
3  France
2  Norway
1  Austria
 United Kingdom
 United States

Women's race[edit]

The Gent–Wevelgem women's race was held for the first time in 2012, on the same day as the men's race but over a shorter course of 114 km. The inaugural women's race was won by Lizzie Armitstead, of Team AA Drink/, after a 40-km solo breakaway.[3][4]

Rider Team
2012 United Kingdom Armitstead, LizzieLizzie Armitstead (GBR) AA
2013 Netherlands Wild, KirstenKirsten Wild (NED) Team Argos-Shimano
2014 United States Hall, LaurenLauren Hall (USA) Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
2015 Netherlands Mackaij, FloortjeFloortje Mackaij (NED) Team Liv-Plantur


  1. ^ a b Gent-Wevelgem
  2. ^ (the slot formerly held by the Brabantse Pijl)
  3. ^ "Armitstead powers to solo win". Sky Sports. March 25, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Elizabeth Armitstead wint eerste Gent-Wevelgem voor vrouwen". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). 25 March 2012. 

External links[edit]