Day 1: Gent-Wevelgem
The 78 year old Gent-Wevelgem race doesn’t start in Gent. It starts in Deinze. That’s just one of the idiosyncrasies of this 231-kilometer Flemish classic. It’s affectionately called the Sprinter’s Classic because a natural sprinter often wins – as evidenced by Mario Cipollini’s three wins. However, its six climbs in the middle of the race – centered around two humiliating ascents of the cobbled Kemmelberg – make this a monster of a ride. How difficult is Gent-Wevelgem? Eddy Merckx could only manage to win it three times.