Jumbo-Visma continue their domination of cobbled classics after a one-two at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, a one-three at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, and Van Aert’s win at the E3 Saxo Classic.
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Laporte and van Aert went clear and despite the best of efforts to bring them back in, they only increased their advantage until it became apparent they’d win it.
“We decided we’d take it to the finish,” Laporte said. “Wout asked me if I wanted to win. It’s incredible. It’s a pleasure. This has happened only once before in my career. I want to thank Wout for everything. I’ve never won a Classic before, and now I’m so proud. I think of my family and my little boy – it has taken so much sacrifice to get to this point.
“There was still 50km to go when we attacked. We made a lot of efforts together. We did everything to go to the finish together. It was hard for me to follow Wout. It was just incredible to be with him, and I’m so proud to do so much of it with him.”
The Belgian superstar worked hard for the Frenchman and even waiting for him on the last ascent of the Kemmelberg.
“We just rode full on until the last 8-10km, maybe,” Van Aert said after the finish. “Then we were quite sure we had the victory. I won on Friday, and my eyes are on the races that are coming. Christophe also had a difficult start to the season with a sickness, and he’s such a team player that it was an easy decision.
“It’s incredible. Only a few days ago, we talked about the 2022 E3 Saxo Bank Classic, and we said to each other that we should realise it’ll probably never happen again. Only a few days later, we’ve done exactly the same thing. It’s hard to believe that it’s possible at this high level, but I think it’s all the hard work coming together, and it’s such a nice feeling to do this together.”
Sep Vanmarcke (Israel-Premier Tech) proved the quickest of the chasers and rounded up the podium.
Will Jumbo-Visma continue to dominate? What do you think?
2023 – Gent-Wevelgem results
1. Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) – 05:49:39
2. Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) + 00
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Israel-Premier Tech) + 01:56
4. Frederik Frison (Lotto Dstny) + 01:56
5. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) + 01:56
6. Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) + 01:56
7. Alexis Renard (Cofidis) + 02:04
8. Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) + 02:04
9. Danny Van Poppel (BORA-Hansgrohe) + 02:04
10. Daniel Mclay (Team Arkéa-Samsic) + 02:04