Gent - Wevelgem 2024

Gent-Wevelgem may often be referred to as a ‘Sprinters Classic’, due to its predominantly flat parcours, but it’s not uncommon to see this race explode on the roads towards the finish

Gent-Wevelgem is a race that pays tribute to the history of Flanders and those who gave their life in wartime

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Gent - Wevelgem
Gent - Wevelgem
  • Dates 24 Mar
  • Race Length 253 kms
  • Start Ypres
  • Finish Wevelgem
  • Race Category Elite Men

Published: 20 March, 2024

Gent-Wevelgem 2024 overview

Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields will run on Sunday, March 24 in Belgium and will take on 253km of Flemish racing across the Western half of the country. Falling the week before the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem offers the Spring Classics specialists one final opportunity to hone their form ahead of the biggest one-day race in Belgium.

Outside of the Monuments, this race is one of the longest on the calendar and often exceeds 250km in length.

Taking to the start of the 2024 Gent-Wevelgem will be reigning champion Christophe Laporte (Visma-Lease a Bike), who will be hoping to become the first man since Tom Boonen in 2011/12 to go back-to-back. His hopes may be dented by illness, however, with the Frenchman pulling out of Friday's E3 Saxo Classic after struggling at Milan-San Remo.

Should Laporte falter, Visma-Lease a Bike will turn to the likes of Tiesj Benoot and Olav Kooij, but there is an abundance of challengers to the title, not least of which Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck). Elsewhere, Soudal Quick-Step, Ineos Grenadiers and Lidl-Trek are all fielding very strong squads.

The race is one of the oldest Flemish Classics and has been a stalwart of the spring season since 1934. Traditionally run the Sunday before the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem is a crown in and of itself with an honour roll almost as deep as Flanders itself with recent winners like Wout van Aert, Biniam Girmay and Mads Pedersen.

Taking place in late March in Flanders, it’s not uncommon to see the race ravaged by crosswinds and sleeting rain. Add to these grim weather conditions a handful of gruelling cobblestone sectors and multiple ascents of the infamous Kemmelberg and you’re left with one of the most attritional races on the entire calendar. The Kemmelberg is a brutal climb covered in bone-rattling cobblestones and raced over three laps, and it often acts as a king-maker in this race.

Nevertheless, with a list of former winners that includes Mario Cipollini’s three victories, Gent-Wevelgem is a race that gears itself more towards the sprinters than the climbers and is raced with a different pace to the hillier Flandrian classics. With a fine balance between the strengths of Classics men and sprinters Gent Wevelgem is a race with many possible outcomes that can kick off very early in the long race with the windswept fields of De Moeren proceeding the gravel of the Plugstreets around the old World War I battlefields and the nine climbs that are scattered throughout the final 100km.

Gent-Wevelgem 2024 key information

When is the 2024 Gent-Wevelgem? The race will run on Sunday, 24 March.

Where does Gent-Wevelgem take place? Gent-Wevelgem takes place in the Flanders portion of Belgium. While the race is historically called Gent-Wevelgem, the race itself no longer starts in Gent, Belgium. Instead, the race begins in Ypres before looping around West and East Flanders and ending with the long flat run to Wevelgem.

Who won Gent-Wevelgem in 2023? Christophe Laporte won the race with a long-range two-up breakaway with his teammate Wout van Aert. Sep Vanmarcke was third.

When did Gent-Wevelgem start? The first edition of the race was run in 1934.

Who won the first Gent-Wevelgem? Gustave Van Belle won the first edition of the race ahead of Maurice Vandenberghe and Jérôme Dufromont.

Who has the most wins at the Gent-Wevelgem? Six riders have three victories at the race, including Peter Sagan in 2013, 2016 and 2018. The list also includes Tom Boonen, Mario Cipollini, Eddy Merckx, Rik Van Looy and Robert Van Eenaeme.

Gent-Wevelgem 2024 route

The 2024 Gent-Wevelgem is a tad shorter than last year's race at 253km compared to the 260km of 2023. Nevertheless, the race will have all of the same trappings of the course over the past few years with the main elements of the course remaining on the menu this go around.

From the start in Ypres the race will start by heading northwest towards the coastline of the North Sea and the Moeren where, if the weather is right, the wind will blow and break the race apart early in the proceeding. The first 150km are flat, with wind and a couple of cobbled sectors the only potential difficulties, but that changes once the race reaches the climbs around the Kemmelberg for the first time, with just over 100km to go.

Once the climbing starts, they come in rapid succession with the six ascents all packed into 70 kilometres as the wind their way up, down and around the Kemmelberg area. Interspersed between the ascents are the gravel Plugstreets which mark the grim history of the area as key battlegrounds in World War I. All of that together will fatigue the legs before the crucial final kick up the Kemmelberg’s steep side (0.7km, 11.4%) with 35km to go.

On that final steep surge up the Kemmelberg, the Classics riders and would-be attackers to make their move before the sprinters and their teams reorganise after the descent and set up for the flat run to the finish. A last-minute escape can go after the Kemmelberg, as we saw in 2022 with Biniam Girmay’s victory, however with the high calibre of sprinters on the start line if it is together after the final climb a sprint is the likely outcome.

Which teams are racing the Gent-Wevelgem 2024?

Gent-Wevelgem is a WorldTour race and will have a full complement of WorldTour teams, last year’s top three ranked ProTour teams and four wildcard ProTour teams making up the full peloton of 25 teams of seven riders.

WorldTour teams:

  • Alpecin-Deceuninck
  • Arkéa-B&B Hotels
  • Astana Qazaqstan
  • Bahrain Victorious
  • Bora-Hansgrohe
  • Cofidis
  • Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale
  • EF Education-EasyPost
  • Groupama-FDJ
  • Ineos Grenadiers
  • Intermarché-Wanty
  • Lidl-Trek
  • Movistar Team
  • Soudal Quick-Step
  • dsm-firmenich PostNL
  • Jayco AlUla
  • Visma-Lease a Bike
  • UAE Team Emirates

ProTour teams:

  • Lotto Dstny
  • Israel-Premier Tech
  • Uno-X Mobility
  • Flanders-Baloise
  • TotalEnergies
  • Tudor Pro Cycling
  • Q36.5 Pro Cycling

What happened at Gent-Wevelgem in 2023?

Christophe Laporte won the 2023 Gent-Wevelgem in a commanding team performance from Jumbo-Visma as he and his teammate Wout van Aert got away as a pair on the final time up the Kemmelberg. In the end, Van Aert gifted the win to Laporte, in a move similar to E3 the previous year where the two arrived at the finish as a duo and Laporte ceded the victory to Van Aert. Sep Vanmarcke was third from the bunch sprint behind, a full 1:56 behind the Jumbo-Visma pair.

Gent-Wevelgem history

Gent-Wevelgem began in 1934 and, beyond a five-year pause for World War II, has run every year since. Belgium has run the winner's circle, winning 34 of the first 37 editions, but one of those international winners was the five-time Tour de France-winning Frenchman Jacques Anquetil.

As cycling has moved into the modern era, the winner list grew more international and tilted more towards the sprinters before the Flanders Classics took the race under its umbrella in 2011 and brought some changes to the race which changed the colours of the race slightly, bringing in more possible race outcomes with a different combination of the Kemmelberg and the gravel Plugstreets.

Six riders occupy a crowded top spot on the Gent-Wevelgem winners list. Belgians Robert Van Eenaeme, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx and Tom Boonen, Italian Mario Cipollini and Slovak Peter Sagan have all won this race three times. Two years ago, Biniam Girmay emerged victorious in Wevelgem and wrote his name into cycling’s history books as the first-ever Black African to win a WorldTour-ranked Spring Classic.

In 2015 the race renamed itself to ‘Gent-Wevelgem - In Flanders Fields’ to mark the 100-year anniversary of John McCrae’s famous World War I poem. The race has done a lot over the years to remember those who lost their lives in this war. In 2017, the route builders added three ‘Plugstreets’ gravel sectors to pay homage to the Christmas Truce of 1914. These sectors have been included in each edition since and have proven pivotal in deciding the outcome of the race, largely by dishing out punctures to a lot of the main favourites.

Gent-Wevelgem previous winners

2023 Christophe Laporte (Fra)
2022 Biniam Girmay (Eri)
2021 Wout van Aert (Bel)
2020 Mads Pedersen (Den)
2019 Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
2018 Peter Sagan (Slo)
2017 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel)
2016 Peter Sagan (Svk)
2015 Luca Paolini (Ita)
2014 John Degenkolb (Ger)
2013 Peter Sagan (Svk)
2012 Tom Boonen (Bel)
2011 Tom Boonen (Bel)
2010 Bernhard Eisel (Aut)
2009 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor)
2008 Oscar Freire (Esp)
2007 Marcus Burghardt (Ger)
2006 Thor Hushovd (Nor)
2005 Nico Mattan (Bel)
2004 Tom Boonen (Bel)
2003 Andreas Klier (Ger)
2002 Mario Cipollini (Ita)
2001 George Hincapie (USA)
2000 Geert van Bondt (Bel)
1999 Tom Steels (Bel)
1998 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel)
1997 Philippe Gaumont (Fra)
1996 Tom Steels (Bel)
1995 Lars Michaelsen (Den)
1994 Wilfried Peeters (Bel)
1993 Mario Cipollini (Ita)
1992 Mario Cipollini (Ita)
1991 Djamolidine Abduschaparov (Usb)
1990 Herman Frison (Bel)
1989 Gerrit Solleveld (Ned)
1988 Sean Kelly (Ire)
1987 Teun Van Vliet (Ned)
1986 Guido Bontempi (Ita)
1985 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel)
1984 Guido Bontempi (Ita)
1983 Teun Van Vliet (Ned)
1982 Frank Hoste (Bel)
1981 Jan Raas (Ned)
1980 Henk Lubberding (Ned)
1979 Francesco Moser (Ita)
1978 Ferdinand Van den Haute (Bel)
1977 Bernard Hinault (Fra)
1976 Freddy Maertens (Bel)
1975 Freddy Maertens (Bel)
1974 Barry Hoban (GB)
1973 Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1972 Roger Swerts (Bel)
1971 Georges Pintens (Bel)
1970 Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1969 Willy Vekenmans (Bel)
1968 Walter Godefroot (Bel)
1967 Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1966 Herman Vanspringel (Bel)
1965 Noél De Pauw (Bel)
1964 Jacques Anquetil (Fra)
1963 Benoni Beheyt (Bel)
1962 Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1961 Frans Aerenhouts (Bel)
1960 Frans Aerenhouts (Bel)
1959 Leon Van Daele (Bel)
1958 Noél Fore (Bel)
1957 Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1956 Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1955 Alberic Schotte (Bel)
1954 Rolf Graf (Swi)
1953 Raymond Impanis (Bel)
1952 Raymond Impanis (Bel)
1951 André Rossel (Bel)
1950 Alberic Schotte (Bel)
1949 Marcel Kint (Bel)
1948 Valeré Ollivier (Bel)
1947 Maurice Desempelaere (Bel)
1946 Ernest Sterckx (Bel)
1945 Robert Van Eenaeme (Bel)
1939 André Declerck (Bel)
1938 Hubert Godart (Bel)
1937 Robert Van Eenaeme (Bel)
1936 Robert Van Eenaeme (Bel)
1935 Albert Debreitere (Bel)
1934 Gustave Van Belle (Bel)

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