Gent-Wevelgem 2015: reflections on a Classic
A wind-battered 77th edition of "the sprinter's classic" ended in victory for the peloton's finest tactician rather than for a fast man. A thrilling denouement rewarded spectators at the roadside, but what might be gleaned for the Monuments that lie ahead?
The 77th edition of Gent-Wevelgem unfolded in winds strong enough to blow riders from their bikes, and ended with victory for a consummate tactician, rather than for one of the peloton’s quick men. So much for the “sprinter’s classic”.
Was Luca Paolini, the perennial chaperone, simply disregarded by his breakaway companions when he made his decisive attack, or does his victory represent another tactical masterstroke from the peloton’s best reader of a race?
Does Jürgen Roelandts’ gallant effort mark a further upswing in the fortunes of Lotto-Soudal or an opportunity missed for the men in red, who had two riders in the break but finished with scant reward?
Was Geraint Thomas’ ride to third place a further show of strength, or a return to business as usual after his excellent win at E3 Harelbeke? What might be said of Etixx-Quick-Step’s squandering of numerical advantage for a second race this spring?
And with the Grand Tour set bathing in Catalan sunshine while the rouleurs battled Flandrian crosswinds, is it the case that the men of the Classics are just tougher than their stage racing counterparts?