Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) roared down the finishing straight in Wevelgem’s centre for his second consecutive Ghent-Wevelgem win today. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) placed second ahead of Matti Breschel (Rabobank).
His win came from a power-escape off the final Monteberg climb. The field split over the Kemmelberg and Monteberg, 33 kilometres out. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) led the way, but Boonen remained confident in a chase group behind. With 22 kilometres left, the groups merged and at 16km out, caught the remaining escapees.
Boonen followed up his E3 Harelbeke win on Friday, which makes him a hot favourite for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.
“It’s important that I won these two races,” he explained. “I said before the start today, these five to six races are the most important part of my season. Everything I do during the year is to be ready for this part of the season.”
An escape dominated the early part of the day. Nine men went clear almost immediately into the 235-kilometre race and two of them rode clear with 50 kilometres to race: Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel) and Anders Lund (Saxo Bank).
Izagirre and Lund made their way free after the first climb of the Kemmelberg. They held 20 seconds on the others and just over three minutes on the Sky- and BMC-led pack.
GreenEdge led during the early portions of the day, up until the first ascent of the Kemmelberg. Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini) and Sky’s Ian Stannard then led the group up the climb, 2’48″ behind the escape. The favourites were there too, with sprinters strung down the road, Cavendish mid-pack.
Cavendish was there again on the second ascent of the Kemmelberg 16.8 kilometres later. Breschel took charge, chased by Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing) and Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale). On the Monteberg, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) accelerated and split the race. Cancellara and Sagan responded, and kick off the race finale.
Ghent-Wevelgem 2012: 234.6km
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 5-32-44
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
3. Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank
4. Oscar Freire (Spa) Katusha
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
6. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
7. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
8. Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
9. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Farnese Vini
10. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar all same time
58. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky at 2-33
70. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky at 2-33
130. Jeremy Hunt (GBR0 Sky at 10-01
Tom Boonen wins the 2012 edition of Ghent-Wevelgem