Etixx–Quick Step will go into Gent-Wevelgem with a strong and confident team, suited to both a race of attrition and a bunch sprint if it will come down to this.
The team will be led by Tom Boonen, one of the five men who have won Gent-Wevelgem three times. After his first experience on the cobbles at Dwars door Vlaanderen, Fernando Gaviria returns to the squad in an event which was first raced by a Colombian rider more than 40 years ago.
A two-time Gent-Wevelgem winner, Tom Steels, will lead the team from the car. He talked about the new course and how it may influence the outcome of the race:
“Gent-Wevelgem comes with some changes this year, and the most important one is that in the final we’ll venture over another side of the Kemmelberg, which I did only once in my life and it’s really steep and tricky, which could prove decisive for some riders. If the race will take place under bad weather conditions, the climb will be even more difficult, as you have to get up in order to go over it. From there to the finish is still a long way, but the crosswinds will make it very hard for the ones left behind.”
The weather, as always, will play a big role and today should be no exception as rain is very likely to fall on the course. However, Etixx has a very experienced squad which will make a strong case for a Gaviria or a Tom Boonen success today.
Etixx-Quick Step line-up for Gent Wevelgem: Tom Boonen, Fernando Gaviria, Nikolas Maes, Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra, Matteo Trentin, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Stijn Vandenbergh.
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Etixx-QuickStep Fernando Gaviria Gent-Wevelgem Tom Boonen