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Mar 27, 2016 – Slovakia’s Peter Sagan prevailed in a four-man sprint to claim victory in Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem cobbled classic in Belgium, but the race was overshadowed by a serious crash involving Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie.
Sagan, who was second at Friday’s E3 Harelbeke, held off Fabian Cancellara, Vyacheslav Kuznetsov and Sep Vanmarcke to record his second Gent-Wevelgem triumph after winning the 2013 edition. “I’m very happy that I’ve won finally in this (rainbow) jersey,” said Sagan, after earning his first win as world champion.
“I’m reassured. I showed on the Kemmel (climb) that my legs respond,” added the Slovak who will go into next weekend’s Tour of Flanders, one of cycling’s five Monuments, as one of the favorites.
Sunday’s race lived up to its gruelling reputation, with riders battling strong winds as they tackled 10 climbs over a 243km route, including two ascents of the Kemmelberg. The decisive breakaway came just after the final climb of the Kemmelberg, around 35 kilometres from the finish, as Sagan, Cancellara and Vanmarcke reeled in Kuznetsov to form a leading quartet.
The Etixx-QuickStep team of three-time winner Tom Boonen and Niki Terpstra launched a bid to chase them down but were foiled as the gap quickly increased, before an inevitable dash to the finish ensued. Meanwhile, Demoitie was rushed to hospital in a serious condition after he was struck by a motorbike following a fall earlier in the race.
“Antoine Demoitie is in Lille hospital after a serious crash with a motor bike in Gent-Wevelgem,” read a post on the Wanty-Gobert team’s Twitter account, confirming earlier information provided to AFP by emergency services. The accident occurred in Sainte-Marie-Cappel, northern France, with Demoitie, 25, transported to a hospital in Lille.
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team
2. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
3. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
5. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
6. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha
9. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
10. Michael Morkov (Den) Team Katusha