23 March 2013

A new shorter Gent-Wevelgem

They have shortened a Classic

This is definitely the year of weather, or the year the Spring Classics became the Winter Classics. After the miserable conditions at Milan-San Remo last weekend, this weekend another race is expected to be pummeled with cold wet weather. Now the route of the 2013 Gent-Wevelgem has been changed due to heavy winter weather. This time, they are planning ahead to avoid major weather.

Gent-Wevelgem - 24 March 2013

Fifty-two of the planned 235.5km have been removed from tomorrow's race. Instead the riders will cover 183.4km in forecast freezing temperatures with 30% chance of snow and 19mph+ winds. The announcement to change the route was made Friday, after an awareness of almost certain poor conditions would affect the race and riders. Many of the same riders who recently suffered through a very cold E3-Harlebeke.

According to VeloNews, "It is the first time [race president Luc Gheysens] has made a route change due to external factors in his 30 years as the race president, and it wasn’t done lightly. The race will keep its start in Deinze but only as a matter of show: Riders will dress and sign in, but then board team buses for a 47km ride to Gistel, which allows the race to maintain its anticipated arrival times and stay on schedule."

CyclingNews further reports, "With more snow forecast to fall from around 10pm on Saturday evening and with temperatures plummeting to around -3, a decision will be made on Sunday morning before the race over the inclusion of the two ascents of the Casselberg."

As of today, the official parcoursmap is available on the race website for Gent-Wevelgem (still reflecting the entire route, but referred to as official by race organizers). Nieuwe roadmap en timetable: http://www.gent-wevelgem.be/nl/elite-men/race/track (hit the Start button).

Amazingly race organizers have come up with a plan that will not greatly affect the start or finish cities, nor the timetable for most cities along the route.

New parcours for 2013 Gent-Wevelgem. (This is my hand altered version of the route map).
The riders will not race between Deinze and Gistel (green line). After appearing in Deinze, they will take a bus to the new start in Gistel. They will race the gold line on this map. Click to enlarge map
Route map and timetable

View larger version of the route map for Gent-Wevelgem.

Sunday at 11:15am, the riders will have a ceremonial start in the traditional start city of Deinze. They will then drive with their teams, to the official race start in the city of Gistel. The race will begin at 12:35 at Aen Cafe Tourmalet, located at Kouter (N35) and Tieltsesteenweg (N35). The riders will disembark and begin riding on the originally planned route through Belgium, a bit of France, and back into Belgium to finish as planned in Wevelgem.

Here is the new accurate and updated timetable for Gent-Wevelgem reflecting the changes.

25 teams will compete: Official start list by procyclingstats.com
UCI Pro Teams 2013 
ALM/ AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
AST/ Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
BLA/ Blanco Pro Cycling Team (NED)
BMC/ BMC Racing Team (USA)
CAN/ Cannondale Pro Cycling (ITA)
EUS/ Euskaltel Euskadi (ESP)
FDJ/ FDJ (FRA)
GRS/ Garmin Sharp (USA)
KAT/ Katusha (RUS)
LAM/ Lampre Merida (ITA)
LTB/ Lotto Belisol (BEL)
MOV/ Movistar Team (ESP)
OPQ/ Omega Pharma - Quick-step Cycling Team (BEL)
OGE/ Orica Greenedge (AUS)
RLT/ Radioshack Leopard (LUX)
SKY/ Sky Procycling (GBR)
ARG/ Team Argos Shimano (NED)
TST/ Team Saxo-Tinkoff (DEN)
VCD/ Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team (NED)
AJW/ Accent Jobs - Wanty (BEL)
CRE/ CRELAN - Euphony (BEL)
TSV/ Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise (BEL)
COF/ Cofidis, Solutions Crédit (FRA)
EUC/ Team Europcar (FRA)
IAM/ IAM Cycling (SUI)

Race previews

PEZ Previews Gent Wevelgem By Edmond Hood, and also Team SKY. And a video: Greg Henderson talks cold weather racing at Gent-Wevelgem

Who won last year?: Tom Boonen

2009 Norway Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Team Columbia-High Road
2010 Austria Bernhard Eisel (AUT) Team HTC-Columbia
2011 Belgium Tom Boonen (BEL) Quick Step
2012 Belgium Tom Boonen (BEL) Omega Pharma-Quick Step

The climbs in Gent-Wevelgem race (the location of these climbs (km) on this list is incorrect for 2013), please look at this schedule for the exact times and kilometers of the climbs)

Recommended reading: Iconic Places: The Kemmelberg By Cycle Sport
Also read: A Closer Look: Gent-Wevelgem Pre-Ride By Pez Cycling
Related posts by Pedal Dancer: Word of the Day: hellingen

Update Sunday morning - the race is on with no additional changes!

Snow in Gent:
But clear on the Kemmelberg:
Go west my boys, Go West!



Photos from my own trip to Belgium last spring (please click any image to enlarge)

Related post by Pedal Dancer: Day 5 in Flanders (My trip in 2012) and more at Stories from Belgium
The fields of Flanders
Tyne Cot War Museum
Young students taking a tour of history
The Menin road
A different kind of map in 1918 Belgium
Ieper (Ypres)
memorial
Menin Gate
This year they will race under the gate

Race Coverage

Tomorrow will be another early race viewing morning in America. And although Cosmo at Cyclocosm wrote a good piece about the sorry state of TV watching for the sport of cycling this week (Why Americans Can’t Watch Cycling “On TV”), I am happy to have the old trusty [crappiest race coverage of all time] foreign language links to watch online. 

Once again Steve Hill at Steephill.TV informs us:
Start Time: Sunday March 24 11:15 CET (4:15:00 AM MDT); Weather in Gistel, Belgium
Earliest live video: 14:30 CET (7:30:00 AM MDT); see LINKS ON STEEPHILL
Approximate Finish: 17:00 CET (10:00:00 AM MDT); Weather in Wevelgem, Belgium


Race Results

1. Peter Sagan (SVK) 4hr 29min 10sec
2. Borut Bozic (SLO) at 23sec
3. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) 

See the full 2013 Gent-Wevelgem race results by ProCyclingStats

My fav: How The Race Was Won – Gent-Wevelgem 2013, By Cyclocosm

Also by Pedal Dancer: Who is Peter Sagan? other than studly and very good at wheelies.