2021 Gent-Wevelgem

Mads Pedersen, Wout Van Aert Among 5 Favorites For 2021 Gent-Wevelgem

Mads Pedersen, Wout Van Aert Among 5 Favorites For 2021 Gent-Wevelgem

Gent-Wevelgem returns on Sunday, continuing what has been an exciting Classics season so far.

Mar 22, 2021 by Rebecca Reza

The second round of the Flanders Classics arrives this Sunday with Gent-Wevelgem. More fireworks are sure to come after Davide Ballerini upset the favorites at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

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The long, flat finish of this sprinters classicwill lure the fast men in the peloton to the line hoping to add the elusive victory to their palmarès. 

The race begins under the historic Menin Gate from World War I at the city’s edge in Ypres. From there, the riders will embark on 250 kilometers through historic World War I battle grounds in the Flemish fields. The race finishes with two circuits containing 8 climbs, including the Kemmelberg, before a 35-kilometer run to the finish. 

Trek Segafredo’s defending champion Mads Pedersen returns, alongside Jasper Stuyven, hot off his win at Milan – Sanremo.  They will face a whirlwind of competitors, including a formidable sprinting squad from UAE – Team Emirates with Matteo Trentin, Alexander Kristoff, and Fernando Gaviria.  

Notably missing from the startlist is Mathieu van der Poel, who has chosen to skip the Classic prior to racing Tour of Flanders. 

FloBikes has chosen our favorites for the 83rd edition of Gent-Wevelgem below. 

Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo)

The defending champion arrives at the starting line with a sprint victory at Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne last month, outsprinting Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Tom Pidcock (Team INEOS).  He then went on to finish second behind Tim Merlier at Bredene Koksijde Classic. 

Trek Segafredo had a tough start in their Classics campaign at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, missing the day’s breakaway. They quickly found their stride, returning the following day with Pedersen’s win. 

The 25-year-old Dane is on good form after a strong showing at Paris-Nice, he chose to skip Milan-San Remo to focus his cobbled classics ambitions, aiming for a dream victory at Paris Roubaix.  Should Pedersen find himself in trouble on Sunday, Trek – Segafredo has a strong second option in Jasper Stuyven, after his win last week at Milan – San Remo.


Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo Visma)

The Belgian star continues to hunt for a Classics win this season, after several top ten finishes and a frustrating third place at Milan – Sanremo. Wout Van Aert admitted he had missed the winning move by Stuyven in San Remo, making a tactical mistake trying to save energy for the final sprint. He was the only rider who could follow Mathieu van der Poel's stunning attack in the final kilometers at Strade Bianche, but once again came up short, finishing fourth on the day. 

In addition to his classics results, Van Aert won the sprints classification at Tirreno –Adriatico, missing the overall GC win by just over a minute to Tour de France Champion, Tadej Pogačar.  Van Aert’s versatility and striking form is sure to land him in contention to secure victory on Sunday. 


Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick Step)

The 2020 green jersey winner at the Tour de France has yet to notch his first Classics win despite, being one of the top sprinters in the world. 

He started off the season with a sprint victory on stage 6 at the UAE Tour last month, followed by another sprint win on stage 1 at Paris-Nice beating both Arnaud Démare (Groupama –FDJ) and Mads Pederson (Trek – Segafredo).  

The Kemmelberg will pose a major challenge to Bennett, but should the Irishman make it through the circuits in the front group, he will be a clear favorite in the sprint. Bennett will have a strong squad backing him, including Davide Ballerini who earned victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, along with Classic specialists, Yves Lampaert and Zdenêk Štybar


Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates)

Matteo Trentin opened up the sprint in the 2020 Gent Wevelgem, but was passed by Pedersen and Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick Step) before the line. The Italian veteran has shown form this season with top ten finishes in both Kuurn – Bruxelles – Kuurne and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. 

He will line up at the start backed by a strong sprint squad, including the 2019 winner Alexander Kristoff, and Colombian Fernando Gaviria. 

Greg van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën Team)

With his Classics palmerès, van Avermaet will always be counted as a favorite. The Belgian has found his stride with his new team, featuring in the mix in the final kilometers at last week’s Milano – Sanremo. He last earned victory at Gent – Wevelgem in 2017. Van Avermaet will have long-time teammate, Michael Schär for support, along with Oliver and Lawrence Naesen.