The Gent-Wevelgem Favorites Wiki

This will have to be a stripped down version of the one we compiled last week, given the speed at which the races come at us (and the chaos of my own life, which is a couple courses of antibiotics away from resolution). G-W Preview and Media in a separate post. Here's my baker's dozen, on the flip; add more names and submit entries as you please:

Tom Boonen

(chris) Former winner in 2004, and if he's in the finale, why not? Well, because he's hurting, and because winning here won't save Quick Step's spring, whereas winning in Roubaix will, meaning he will be holding back... if he even bothers to finish.

Daniele Bennati

(chris) My favorite for the race. He showed brilliant form and fantastic teamwork softening up the bunch with a hard attack at the start of the Muur Sunday, thinning things out for Ballan's winning move. He's in great shape, and can ride the cobbles. Plus this should just about be it for his spring campaign, so he will be going for broke.

Thor Hushovd

Filippo Pozzato

(chris) A perfect race for Pippo. Think of his biggest wins: Het Volk and Milan-San Remo. Not the most selective races, but hard by any measure. Pippo has shown an uncanny knack for late-stage heroics. If anyone can sneak away before the bunch sprint happens, and I mean just before... it's Pippo. But he'll be closely marked.

Oscar Freire

(chris) A perfect race for Oscar too, and he'll have Flecha (a near winner) in support and Graeme Brown as plan B/decoy. Rabobank will be highly motivated to keep things together for the bunch sprint. If Freire himself can cover any late breaks, or get in one to stay away, they have serious, serious chances here. But all eyes will be on him.

Stuart O'Grady

(Brian) Will be motivated, since I think he'll be working for Cancellara on Sunday. He could go for a sprint or breakaway win, I think.

Jimmy Casper

Nick Nuyens

(chris) A good race for him. Late escapes are just as common as bunch sprints, and he's an escape artist. More importantly, he's a B-lister for de Ronde and Roubaix, so his mid-week motivation will be higher than Boonen et al.

Robbie McEwen

(chris) Another guy with a sprinter's pedigree who hungers for an April palmare. Plus he's on a Belgian team, lives in Belgium, married to a Belgian... you get the picture. But he has no history of success here. Best finish I can find was 25th in 2002. If he makes it into the finale, he'll be one to watch, but the winner is the guy who's least exhausted in the last KM. Not likely Robbie. OTOH, if it's not windy, move him into favorite status.
Update [2007-4-10 16:14:33 by chris]: He's still on the startlist but has been ill and may not make it to Gent.

Alessandro Petacchi

(chris) Third last year. This is his only shot at Classics redemption. I seriously doubt he can make it, given his recent troubles, but anytime he starts a race that's routinely won by sprinters, you have to at least kick the tires on him.

Bernhard Eisel

(chris) T-Mob's new sprinter, and his seventh last year means he can get over the humps with the big boys. But he hasn't shown the finishing ability. Would be an upset... but not unheard-of.

Andreas Klier

(chris) Another ex-winner. Another potentially great story, considering his spring almost got devoured by a tractor. I still say if he wins anything this week, that tractor will be worth millions.

Tom Steels

(chris) The only two-time returning winner... but the last was in 1999. It'd be an amazing story for him to get off the deck of his February crash and come all the way back for the win. If Robbie misses the finale, he could well be in the mix. The Classics favor experience.

JJ Haedo

(R Mc) dusted Petacchi at Koln. If CSC can get him to the end he has at least as much of a chance as Steels and Klier.

Gert Steegmans

(DZI) Should now be one of the favourites, as Tom de bom Boonen won't be their sprinter, just helper. He'll save all his energy for Roubaix. Besides, Steegmans has won lately (De Panne) and proved to be even stronger then Boonen last Sunday. If he gets in the mix with the drag of Weylandt and Boonen, he might just fool all the big names. So should be good for a top 5 spot, IMHO.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.