Christophe Laporte wins Gent - Wevelgem, Wout van Aert finishes second as they dominate competition

Exactly as was the case in the 2022 E3 Saxo Classic, Christophe Laporte and Wout van Aert have obliterated the competition and rode alone to the finish. Laporte has won Gent-Wevelgem after a tremendous collective performance for Jumbo-Visma.

A brutal day out for the riders. 260 kilometers under grey skies, rain and strong winds. A true day in Flandres made for the tough men. A strong breakaway went up the road, it took a while for it to happen but eventually two groups came together including big figures. It was formed by Greg van Avermaet, Jelle Wallays, Mike Teunissen, Milan Fretin, Sandy Dujardin, Yevegniy Fedorov, Elmar Reinders, Colin Joyce, Jenthe Biermans, Guillaume van Keirsbluck, Johan Jacobs, Luca van Boven, Lewis Askey and Aaron van Poucke.

A strong group, but not even with favourable conditions could they get much freedom. The strong winds frequently saw high speeds in the peloton where the tension was constantly high. The first time up the Kemmelberg saw a split, with the likes of Kragh Andersen, Laporte, van Hooydonck, Pedersen and Mohoric all in the front split. However Quick-Step pulled the peloton back into the gravel sectors and beyond.

The breakaway was caught by the attacking group, in the meantime, but all were caught with 56 kilometers to go. Anthony Turgis attacked right after, but into the second time up the Kemmelberg the race exploded in a decisive way. Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte attacked the climb and went off the front. The race was virtually decided. With perfect collaboration the duo quickly opened a gap whilst even with some cooperation, the peloton could only see the duo ride further and further away.

Van Aert looked to have the best legs as he dropped Laporte in the final climb of the Kemmelberg, but they stayed together and kept expanding their gap through the final kilometers with apparent ease. The peloton saw plenty of attacks both up the climb and in the following kilometers and slowly the reduced peloton lost riders. The gap reached 2 minutes with 6 kilometers to go.

The race for third place saw an important attack with 2 kilometers to go as Mikkel Bjerg, Frederik Frison and Sep Vanmarcke nailed their timing. Laporte crossed the line first as the Dutch team arrived at the finish comfortably. Mads Pedersen managed to bridge across to the chasing trio inside the final kilometer, but didn't have enough energy left for the sprint, and Sep Vanmarcke took the final step of the podium, celebrating a strong result over the line.

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