Gand - Wevelgem 2004
07 Apr 2004
The television showed the riders as if "immersed in an aquarium": the 66th edition of Gand-Wevelgem showed the typical climate of the Belgium Classics, with fierce wind and rain to make the selection in the peloton.
The small climb of Rodeberg broke the group and the Kemmelberg picked only the riders with the best form and determined to "make the race". In the athletes' facial expressions coming down from the Kemmel, one could really read the difficulty of riding that pavé distance, when the pavement is wet from the rain. Water also lifts the stones from the road, rendering the surface all the more unstable.
The ascent is quite steep, slightly bending to the right: touching the brakes means risking crashing over the "soapy" wet pavé. I personally rode this road with my bike, once almost 16 years ago, while it was wet, and promised myself never to repeat the experience again.
A timely "redeeming" performance from the Quick-Step team, with six good riders among the leading 25 who played their chances on the final sprint. Museeuw launched the sprint and Boonen easily cut the line.
George Hincapie once again placed in the top, probably too timorous in the final effort, notwithstanding his past as a brilliant sprinter.