Start Location: Deinze
End Location: Wevelgem
Start Location: Deinze
End Location: Wevelgem
That's about it from us today. Thanks for joining our coverage from Gent-Wevelgem. We'll be back next weekend for live coverage from the Tour of Flanders.
And Alejandro Valverde's domination continued at the Volta a Catalunya. He won the final stage and the overall from Alberto Contador. Full report, here.
If you're just catching up, Lotta Lepisto won the women's race. You can find our report, photos and results, just here.
Modolo in tenth. Want to hear from him? Of course you do:
“I was aware my legs were good, in fact I already had good feelings in the past days, however I could not exploit them because of a flat tyre in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen and I missed to join the top riders group for few meters in the E3 Harelbeke. Today, everything was ok and I could be competitive as I would have liked. I paid attention to not exceed my limits, I was patient and I succeeded in managing my energies in the best way."
More from Van Avermaet:
"I was not expecting to win Gent-Wevelgem, but I'm really happy. It's definitely the best start of the season that I've ever had. I've won three Classics already so it's an amazing feeling. It's never easy to win these races and normally Gent-Wevelgem isn't so much of a race for me. I tried so many times to win here and now I've won three all in one season. It's a wonderful feeling and it gives me extra confidence for Ronde van Vlaanderen."
Finally, we hear from the winner:
I nearly can’t believe it myself. I think it’s a dream for me to win these three races. I’ve been trying for so long to get on the podium and now I’m winning all three of them. For me, it’s a dream. After the finish I had to pinch myself to check if it was true.
Sagan as you'd expect has the full backing of his team:
“To start playing games with 15km to go is not the way to win races. At the moment, it seems that some are more interested in beating Peter than in winning, but that’s cycling. Peter was strong again and always in control until that point – that’s the good thing about today. Also, the team was strong. We still had four guys to support Peter going into the finale.” So says Bora DS, Jens Zemke.
Peter Sagan has spoken. Look away now if you're Niki Terpstra....
Actually it's not that bad:
“I don’t know what Terpstra wanted to do, because he attacked to go in the breakaway, but afterwards he didn’t want to work. This is just one example of how you can lose the race against me. What can I do – we’re not teammates – I can’t work for everyone, only for them to beat me in the sprint. I’m not disappointed – I’m more motivated now. If you win all the time, you lose your motivation. Now I’m motivated to take some more wins. We’ll see what happens at Flanders and Paris-Roubaix."
Edvald Boasson Hagen, who almost made the winning move:
It was a hard race and the finale began quite early today. I managed to be up in the front, in a good position and was riding well. Scott and Bernie were doing a really good job as well. I was feeling a bit hunger flat when there was a split. I still tried to close the gap, and I used all the energy I had left. At the end, I didn't have anything left for the sprint. It was a really hard race.
You can now watch the 2017 race highlights from the race, right here.
We already have a full gallery of images from the race, right here.
It was a faultless display from Van Avermaet. We'll have reactions and quotes to his win and the war of words between QuickStep and Sagan in just a few minutes.
Van Avermaet is on the podium with Keukeleire and Peter Sagan. A fine ride from the Orica rider who has been on the cusp of a result in the Classics for some time. Sagan cut a frustrated figure at the end but the man of the moment, ahead of Flanders is Greg Van Avermaet. He is the favourite for the Tour of Flanders next weekend.
Sagan in his post race comments has called the tactics of others 'a very cheap game'. He talking about Terpstra right there.
The Orica rider comes on the inside line but Van Avermaet holds him off to win Gent-Wevelgem. It looks like Sagan took third just a few seconds head of the peloton.
They go to the barries and Van Avermaet opens first.
300 to go.
Van Avermaet will lead out.
The BMC rider takes over. 500m to go.
He does now, with 950m to go. Van Avermaet is in control.
The Orica rider will not come through and take a turn.
22 seconds and Van Avermaet leads into the final 1,000m.
2km to go and the gap is at 17 seconds. It's between Van Avermaet and Keukeleire for the sprint. This could be close. The Orica rider is quick.
12 seconds. Can Sagan do anything from here?
Andersen takes a turn before Terpstra takes over. Up ahead, the leading two have 11 seconds. 3.5km to go.
4km to go and the gap is up to 10 seconds.
Van Avermaet knows that he can't allow Sagan back into the picture and takes a huge pull on the front. The gap is 8 seconds. The World Champion is closing in.
Keukeleire leads around the corner with 5km to go and Sagan is leading the chase. This is too close to call. The bunch probably out of it now, 49 seconds down with 5km to go.
With 7km to go the bunch are not out of this. The headwind is playing it's part because the peloton are 48 seconds down on the two leaders. Sagan's group are 9 seconds of the two leaders.
The Sagan group are working together and the world champion can't be ruled out as long as the two leaders are within touching distance. 8km to go.
Lotto Soudal, Trek and Cofidis lead the chase from the bunch but they're 1'03 down on the two leaders with the Sagan group at 15 seconds.
14 seconds for Jens Keukeleire and Greg Van Amermaet with 11km to go. The peloton are less than a minute down.
It looks like Keukeleire and Van Avermaet have the gap they need on the Sagan group but every time they gain a few meters, either Terpstra or Sagan takes a monster turn.
They almost move up to the leading pair but then Terpstra peels off. The two leaders continue to work together and just keep their heads down. It's a headwind finish, remember and we still have 12km to go.The race is in the balance.
QuickStep playing a dangerous game but they must be confident in Gaviria or Boonen in the bunch sprint.
Leading the race we have Van Avermaet and Keukeleire.
Sagan has attacked and Terpstra is chasing him.
And it's happening again as Terpstra isn't riding and neither is Søren Kragh Andersen.
That leaves Van Avermaet and Keukeleiire up front.
The sprinters behind have gifted this to Sagan and Van Avermaet.
Finally some shared effort from the Degenkolb group but has it come too late as two QuickStep riders sit on the back. The five leaders - Søren Kragh Andersen, Keukeleire, Sagan, Van Avermaet and Terpstra have 14 seconds with 17km to go.
Boasson is trying to get across but he's really up against it. Søren Kragh Andersen has made the split.
It looks like Degenkolb, Matthews and several others have missed out on the move with Jens Keukeleire going clear with Sagan, Van Avermaet and one other rider. Degenkolb is leading the chase.
Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott) also in the lead group, takes a long pull on the front. A few riders are not working and that causes a split. The gap is 24 seconds and the work rate has gone from the leaders.
The gap has come down, and it's at 28 seconds with 22km to go. If this group commits then the race is gone and there's no way Lotto Soudal can pull this back on their own. Cofidis are also helping, however.
Naesen is sitting at the back of the group as Sunweb and Dimension Data put their men to work at the front of the break. The gap is up to 35 seconds with 23km to go. Quickstep, I'm not sure they have the right men in the move should it come down to a sprint.
Lotto Soudal are leading the chase but they've been on the back foot throughout this race. The've not once been in a key move and but for a short attack from Maes they've been totally off the grid.
Matthews has one rider with him and doesn't want the group to be caught by Gaviria and co. The Sagan group has 21 seconds with 27km to go.
Soudal have missed the move. So have Team Sky, LottoNL, FDJ and Katusha.
It looks like the Sagan group is coming back. That will mean three QuickStep riders in the lead group. Matthews is there. Colbrelli and one rider each from Orica and Cannondale.
Boasson Hagen, Van Avermaet, Sagan, Stybar, Degenkolb and Terpstra are the new leading group. They have a few seconds on the chase. Matthews is leading the chase but he has no real help. Is that the winning move?
Sagan and Van Avermaet are working well and they won't want Degenkolb for company. The Trek rider is sprinting down the descent and makes contact. The trio are about to be caught by three more riders - two of them from QuickStep.
Over the top and Sagan has caught Van Avermaet, Degenkolb as bit of work to do in order to make contact. The World Champion looked in complete control when he finally made his move.
And it looks like Van Avermaet who goes first with Degenkolb on his wheel. Sagan is having to chase and he goes right around Degenkolb with ease.
The move is closed down as Eisel pull off, his job done for the day. Matthews is still in there for Sunweb as we start the Kemmelberg for the final time.
It's really up to BMC to chase but Dimension Data are doing most of the work with Eisel pulling on the front. The leading pair are working together but it's going to come back together with 35km to go.
That looks like Thwaites on the front for Boasson Hagen as Cofidis slow the move down before Oss, once more moves up and takes control. We've around 45 riders in the lead group as Stuyven goes on the attack and his matched by Lampaert.
The Italian is chased back by Dimension Data. Boasson Hagen is up there as we see Oss caught and Van Avermaet hit the front. That attack has caused a split. Trentin is there, Sagan is there, Oss too and about another 15 riders or so.
Game over for Lars Boom. Not sure if he cracked or couldnt change gear. Either way he's dropped as Daniel Oss goes clear on the Baneberg.
Kristoff is near the back of the bunch but still doesn't have a teammate with him. Surely his chances are gone because this long chase will have really taken it out of him.
40km to go and Van Hecke is about to be caught by the bunch. He's been out on the attack since the early morning but the peloton have finally brought him back.
Daniel Oss leads the bunch with Trek riders marking his every move. No sign from Sagan, who is riding the perfect race and just keeping out of trouble.
Kristoff chasing on his own.. he might make it back but we're about to start climbing. He rides by Martin - as we head for the final set of climbs.
Crash. A heavy fall and several riders are down. Tony Martin is one of them and he's in no hurry to get up. Bahrain, Sky, LottoNL have riders on the deck too. Moscon is the Team Sky rider.
Meanwhile, Kristoff is around 20 seconds off the bunch after his mechanical. He's almost made it.
Van Hecke is riding superbly and has moved his lead out to 31 seconds with 46km to go. Hats off to the 34-year-old.
The Trentin move has been caught. Leaving just Van Hecke out in front. He has 26 seconds on the peloton.
#GWE is all over the place. Mullen still toward the front of the race, jumping on a Quick Step move as the break dissolved.
@Ride_Argyle Sun, 26th Mar 2017 14:14:18
BMC are leading the chase, they have the numbers. The gap is at 25 seconds with 48km to go.
The Stybar/Trentin group have around 14 seconds on the peloton with just Van Hecke ahead of them.
And Kristoff has a puncture near the end of the final section of gravel. He has one man with him but that's going to be a really tough chase from this point. Trentin and Stybar are putting a few more seconds into what's left of the bunch.
Onto the last section of gravel and the Trek rider is Theuns. Looking back down the road and Rowe and Knees have been dropped by the Boonen/Sagan group.
Trentin and Stybar's group have picked up a few of the earlier breakaway riders. It's also on Sky to chase this as they're caught out.
The Stybar group have just a few seconds but it's all on BMC and Lotto to chase this one. Trek have a rider in the move but gaps are appearing all over the road as we hit another section of gravel roads.
Just as they leave the sector Stybar attacks and goes clear. Former teammate Guillaume Van Keirsbulck goes with him, as does Trentin and few more.
It's Trentin who sets the pace with Boonen on his wheel. The Italian wants the TV moto to go ahead as the riders take the first corner. They're not hitting this at full gas.
The two leaders hit the first sector of gravel roads. The peloton are about to do the same...
It's all back together for a brief moment as Trentin moves to the front and gets on the radio. Maes has gone clear but he too looks back. In order for a break to make an impression it has to be committed and we've not seen that yet. The Sagans, meanwhile, are sitting near the back of the group. The last two riders from the break have 1'33 on the bunch with 61km to go.
Three more riders have jumped clear and one of them is Boom. He's joined by men from AG2R and Quickstep. That leaves Trek chasing on the front. We're about to hit the first section of gravel tracks in the race. Patrick Fletcher checked them out yesterday and analysed what possible affect they could have on the race. You can read his story, here.
There's an attack from Movistar and the move isn't marked at all. Everyone just looks at each other, waiting for the chase to come. Eventually the move is neutralized but the peloton lines out under the increased pressure.
Now Trek Segafredo throw a rider up the road and BMC chase.
Oss attacks for BMC with 70km to go as we hit the Monteberg. The Italian is easily matched by the rest of the group and is forced to tap out the pace. Attack from LottoNL.
Moscon is riding well here as Stannard moves up and finds his teammate's wheel. The gap to the early breakaway is down to two minutes.
Degenkolb climbed that well, in second wheel with Demare close by. They now start the twisting descent.
Moscon leads now with Boonen taking over as Van Avermaet drops back. Sagan is still just hiding in the wheels but no major splits have been created so far.
QuickStep lead the bunch into the climb and Breschel is dropped. But it's Van Avermaet who leads the peloton with Boonen close by. Sagan is about 15 riders back.
The pace drops straight away as the riders in the break hit the cobbled section of the climb. 75km to go.
There's been another split in the field with Astana having to close it down. Now Team Sky hit the front and look to position Rowe and Stannard.
The break hit the Kemmelberg for the first time and immediately line out. This is where the race should come alive.
Theuns is leading the chase and shuts down the Martin move.
Martin is over the top of the climb and has company in the form of Lampaert and riders from Lotto and Bora. These four will certainly work together.
Spoke too soon. The rider from Bora is shaking his head and refusing to come through. It's Burghardt.
The bunch have hit the Baneberg and Tony Martin takes off. He also looks back to see who will try and go with him. QuickStep are leading the chase.
A few more riders in the front group: Stannard, Rowe, Degenkolb, Eisel, Boonen, Trentin, Van Avermaet, Oss, T Martin.
Van Avermaet is on the front and looking to split the race up even further. He's well marked as we head back onto a flat section. No sign of either Boonen or Sagan but they both have men marking the Olympic champion. Meanwhile the break are on the Baneberg.
Eisel has gone clear for Dimension Data. He's looking back to see if anyone is going wth him but the Austrian is on his own.
BMC have ripped the entire race apart with several groups all over the road. It looks as though the majority of QuickStep and BMC have made the cut. Sky have a few riders there too. The gap to the break is at 4'27. We're closing in on the first ascent of the Kemmelberg.
Right now the peloton has lined out and it's BMC Racing who are doing all the damage. We've hit another section of cross winds and Dibben is one of the riders spat out the back. BMC have created about 5 or 6 groups with this latest surge.
Anothe crash as the road narrows. Wagner gets up and then helps a Sunweb rider who was on the floor. There's just not enough space on the roads and the Sunweb rider was lucky not to hit a wooden post at the side of the road.
Back in the men's race we've 89km to go with the break at 5'00.
There's been another crash in the bunch and several riders are down and on the ground. Mark Renshaw is one of them. He's waiting for a new bike, it seems. Cofidis and Katusha riders also came down.
Sky here working for either Stannard or Rowe with Van Poppel already off the back. The British team have now eased off as Bora, with Bennett, hit the front.
At the front of the peloton it's still Team Sky who control the field. They have Doull on the front as we see Sunweb and Orica try and position their leaders towards the front. This race is a real war of attrition and each climb, each sector of cobbles and now gravel roads, really sap the legs.
The two-up attack from Roompot includes Pim Ligthart. Meanwhile the break is climbing with their lead down to 5'46.
It's Team Sky who lead the peloton at the moment and the main field has re-grouped once more. A couple of Rompot riders have tried to go on the attack and Sky haven't reacted to that.
The last climb has caused a lot of problems and created several groups out on the road. The hammer has come down and it's going to be a huge task to chase back and make the peloton, even from this far out.
Into the final 100km and the gap to the break has dropped to 6'31. We're over the Catsberg but there's still several climbs to come in the race. The nine riders are still up front and doing a fine job.
Marco Haller has jumped off the front of the peloton for Katusha. That's an interesting move. He's afforded around 20 seconds from the bunch but the question is whether other riders will join him and create a dangerous counter attack before the big guns start firing.
Are we going to get a sprint? As all atacks don't seem to work out, we're heading towards Wevelgem with a large group! #GWEwomen #UCIWWT
@GentWevelgem Sun, 26th Mar 2017 12:41:43
It's the break who hit the climb first with 134km to go. Their lead is still holding at an admirable 7'45. It had dropped to 3'15 earlier but when the peloton re-grouped and sat up the dynamic of the race began to change.
The peloton are about to hit the first climb of the day, the Catsberg. There's already a fight for position as we see a number of teams look to position their leaders. It's a real tussle into the first corner.
Looking back at the fall, Demare was one of the last riders to pick himself up off the tarmac. We didn't see the crash but he certainly took his time before rising to his feet. Riders from BMC and AG2R were also involved.
The nine leaders are still working well together, and holding their 7'45 advantage over the main field. The nervous energy from the previous hour seems to have been replaced with a more pragmatic approach from the bigger teams. The chase is likely to start in the next 15 or so kilometres.
Over in the women's Gent-Wevelgem we have a group off the front with less than 20km to go. The current leaders are Bronzini and Anna Van Der Breggen.
#GWEwomen A lot of attempts but nobody has managed to ride away so far. 20 km to go!
@LS_Ladies Sun, 26th Mar 2017 12:22:55
A few more QuickStep riders have appeared near the front, including Matteo Trentin. The Italian sent in his latest Cyclingnews blog last night. You can read it here.
Demare and the others from that fall are reportedly up and on their bikes once more.145km to go.
Most GC wins (current peloton): 22 – Contador 18 – Valverde 14 – Quintana 13 – Froome 12 – Nibali 10 – T. Martin
@CafeRoubaix Sun, 26th Mar 2017 12:20:26
Meanwhile, back here there's been a crash in the main field with Demare, Vandenbergh, Oliver Naesen going down.
Over in Catalunya, Valverde has just won the final stage and the overall. He went away with Dan Martin and held off the bunch. You can find our report and results, here.
The pace has eased once more and the peloton has re-grouped, bar the nine leaders who have seen their lead shoot back up. It's peaking at 7'45.
The wind continues to be an issue as the nine leaders fan out across the road in another section of cross winds. Neutral service hands something to one of escapees as Mullen drifts to the back of the group.
160km to go and the gaps remain intact. The nine leaders have 3'15 over the QuickStep group with the rest of the field at 4'50.
The fast start to the race, helped by the tailwind, means that we're on course for an early finish. Should the conditions hold out, however, we should have a headwind in the finale.
The nine leaders have seen their advantage go from six minutes to 3'15 in almost a blink of an eye. The gap between the QuickStep echelon and the second echelon is now 1'35. As soon as we have names we'll bring them to you.
The nine leaders have just zipped through the feedzone with a four minute lead. There's a real sense that this race has come alive all of sudden and we've still got 179km to cover. Still no names from the riders in the last group on the road.
Meanwhile, according to Sporza, Boonen has said that the QuickStep Floors team will work for Gaviria if there's a mass-bunch sprint. However, the Belgian has added that he doesn't expect a large group to finish together. So...
The gap between the first part of the peloton and the second has moved out to 40 seconds. It's far too early to tell how decisive a move this is as we've still over 180km to go but this could well be one of the most significant points in the day.
QuickStep simply moved to the front without any hesitation or fuss, put the hammer down at the right moment and chaos ensued behind. The gap is still at 30 seconds between the two pelotons but we don't yet have names from either group.
Crosswinds! And immediately we have a split in the bunch thanks to the work from guess who? QuickStep Floors. They've basically split the main field in two and dropped a large section of the peloton by 30 seconds. The nine leaders have 4'30.
One rider we've not mentioned at all this morning is Caleb Ewan. He's still learning his way through these races but at 50/1 he's a decent outsider should the race end in a bunch sprint. He finished 10th in Milan-San Remo so he has the staying power when it comes to the distance. The question is whether he can make it over the cobbles, and the climbs, and then compete with the likes of Sagan and Gaviria in a head-to-head sprint.
Already, the effort from FDJ has caused the gap to drop by 30 seconds. We're inside the final 200km and the advantage for the break is at 5'30.
Mullen, more of a time trialists, comes through and takes a turn on the front. He's followed by Wanty's Mark McNally, who told the media at the start of the race that the team would be racing for their former teammate, Antoine Demoitié, who died in a tragic accident last year.
The gap is holding at six minutes with FDJ a constant presence on the front of the bunch for their man Demare. The 2016 Milan-San Remo winner took a stage in most recent edition of Paris Nice and has been in form since the start of the year. This race, as he said this morning, does suit him, and he has a strong French team around him.
81 Arnaud Demare (Fra)
82 Mickaël Delage (Fra)
83 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita)
84 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu)
85 Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra)
86 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra)
87 Olivier Le Gac (Fra)
88 Marc Sarreau (Fra)
Tom Boonen's Specialized Tarmac for today's race comes with the new Dura Ace. Full gallery and story to come...
A little over 200km to and it's FDJ who have started to organise a chase. I call it a chase but really they're just the only team on the front and riding in an organised fashion. The break are still putting time into the main field.
Meanwhile in the women's race, the peloton are about the make the first ascent of the Kemmelberg.
Not a huge amount of firepower in that early move but they're quickly putting time into the peloton as QuickStep start making the calculations as to when they need to start chasing. The gap has gone out to 6 minutes in no time at all.
#GWE the peloton has let 9 riders go clear. Their advantage is more than two minutes as we approach one hour of racing.
@BMCProTeam Sun, 26th Mar 2017 10:38:16
And we have our break. They jumped away in ones and twos but now we have nine men out front. The lucky few are Preben Van Hecke, Dennis van Winden, Elmar Reinders, Hugo Houle, Ryan Mullen, Mark McNally, Jay Thomson, Loïc Chetout and Christophe Masson. They have a lead of just under two minutes.
The 9 leaders are: Houle, Mullen, Thomson, Van Hecke, McNally, Chetout, Masson, van Winden and Reinders #GWE #live #UCIWWT
@GentWevelgem Sun, 26th Mar 2017 10:34:03
Away from Gent-Wevelgem we're up and running for the final stage in Catalunya. The big news from 24 hours ago was that Contador moved into second place after Froome and Team Sky had a nightmare, losing over 20 minutes and almost missing the time cut. You can read all about that, right here. Unless anything ridiculous happens, Valverde should take the overall title.
Nine riders clip off the front, including Offredo. They're quickly reeled back in and we're all together again. One big happy family with 228km to go.
No Cavendish for Dimension Data today but the team do have two former race winners in the ranks with Edvald Boasson Hagen (2009) and Bernhard Eisel (2010). The Austrian won from a small group while Boasson Hagen won in a two-man sprint in awful conditions. The Norwegian, it has to be said, has been off the boil so far this season. Can he turn his campaign around today?
111 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor)
112 Youcef Reguigui (Alg)
113 Nicholas Dougall (RSA)
114 Bernhard Eisel (Aut)
115 Tyler Farrar (USA)
116 Mark Renshaw (Aus)
117 Jay Robert Thomson (RSA)
118 Scott Thwaites (GBr)
Bora are all here for Peter Sagan, as you'd expect. If it comes down to a sprint it will be interesting to see if he has a leadout man. Bennett is here but the distance might be an issue for him. Either way, Sagan has a pretty robust unit around him.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk)
2 Sam Bennett (Irl)
3 Maciej Bodnar (Pol)
4 Marcus Burghardt (Ger)
5 Michal Kolár (Svk)
6 Juraj Sagan (Svk)
7 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat)
8 Andreas Schillinger (Ger)
Just over 20km into the race and no break as of yet. QuickStep, and Lotto Soudal are both near the front, watching each attack go.
#GWEwomen 40km of racing covered & no attacks yet. The peloton are strung out along the road, Team Sunweb riding together in the bunch.
@TeamSunweb Sun, 26th Mar 2017 10:12:07
While we wait for the day's early break to form, why not take a look back at last year's race highlights video. Click here.
Another 10 kilometres have ticked by and still no movement from the front of the bunch. Nothing is sticking at the moment.
Still no break from the bunch as we see another volley of attacks come from the front. Each move is being shut down almost immediately.
Team Sky do not have the depth of QuickStep but the British team do have Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe to lead the line. This race probably doesn't suit Stannard as well as say Flanders or Roubaix but he needs a result for confidence if anything. So far, since his European season started in February, his best result was 14th place in Kuurne.
141 Luke Rowe (GBr)
142 Ian Stannard (GBr)
143 Owain Doull (GBr)
144 Christian Knees (Ger)
145 Gianni Moscon (Ita)
146 Jonathan Dibben (GBr)
147 Danny van Poppel (Ned)
148 Łukasz Wiśniowski (Pol)
Wave after wave, the attacks keep coming but so far the peloton has jumped on anything that's moved. We could be in for a tense and incredibly fast opening hour of racing.
Meanwhile we've covered 7km so far and the move from Cannondale has been snuffed out. All together with a grand total of 242km to go.
The strongest all-round unit in the race has to be QuickStep Floors. You really have to look hard to find the weak link in that team and they can win from a number of positions. No Gilbert, but they have Boonen, and Gaviria for the sprint, Terpstra, Lampaert, Stybar and Trentin for late moves, and Vermote and Keisse to do some early work. It's impressive but can they see of Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet?
11 Tom Boonen (Bel)
12 Iljo Keisse (Bel)
13 Yves Lampaert (Bel)
14 Fernando Gaviria (Col)
15 Julien Vermote (Bel)
16 Zdenek Stybar (Cze)
17 Niki Terpstra (Ned)
18 Matteo Trentin (Ita)
A point to prove? Having lost Sep Vanmarcke in the build up to the race through illness, the Cannondale Drapac team are the first attackers. They've already volleyed two men off the front of the peloton as they look to make the race. The men in green are missing their Belgian captain and Taylor Phinney but they still have a few cards to play. Langeveld was once considered a contender for these races and Bettiol has a few top-tens to his name already this season.
71 Alberto Bettiol (Ita)
72 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel)
73 Kristijan Koren (Slo)
74 Thomas Scully (NZl)
75 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned)
76 Dylan van Baarle (Ned)
77 Ryan Mullen (Irl)
78 Wouter Wippert (Ned)
The flag has dropped and we are officially racing at the 2017 edition of Gent-Wevelgem.
It's the Wanty - Groupe Gobert team who sit on the front now. They're leading the bunch as a mark of respect for Antoine Demoitié, who died after being struck by a motorcycle during last year's event. In another show of respect theorganisers of the race are not using bib number 192, the number Demoitié raced in last year.
The roll-out has started and the peloton is heading through the neutralized zone. The official start is around four minutes away. A few riders on the front, laughing and chatting but that will all change in the next few minutes. It looks like we have a tailwind, and there will certainly be attacks from the gun as the early break tries to establish a lead over the bunch.
You can find our official start list right here.
Matteo Trentin has just made his way to the start line. QuickStep have Boonen, Gilbert and Gaviria in their ranks but Trentin may also have his own chance. He penned a blog for us last night, all about the Classics and the one ingredient he's been lacking in recent weeks. Luck. Read it here.
Roughly 15 mins from the rollout here in Deinze with most of the peloton having signed on and made their way to the start line. As per normal, there's a huge turnout from fans. Peter Sagan, twice a winner here, and the defending champion, is close to the front. He and Kuznetsov are the only survivors from last year's winning break to be on the startline this morning. Fabian Cancellara has since retired and Sep Vanmarcke, second last year, has been ruled out through illness.
Belgian broadcasters, Sporza have this morning billed this as Sagan versus Gaviria, giving both riders three stars (that's the max). Tom Boonen, Greg Van Avermaet and Arnaud Demare have two, while John Degenkolb, Michael Matthews, Alexander Kristoff, Jurgen Roelandts and Sonny Colbrelli have one a piece.
No doubt that the biggest cheer this morning was for Tom Boonen. The QuickStep rider is racing his final Gent-Wevelgem and has just three races left until his hangs up his wheels. He's won here three times - 2004, 2011, and 2012 - and a fourth title would give him the record.
Good morning. We're in Deinze for the start of the 2017 edition of Gent-Wevelgem. The start will take place in just under half an hour and right now riders are busily signing on in the brisk spring conditions. Ahead of the peloton is one of the most important one-day races of the season and we'll be bringing you live coverage throughout the day.