Costa Rican caught by main field with just 800m from Gent-Wevelgem finish, shows great form in turbulent day; Spaniard crashes out with several bruises
It was a day full of ups and downs for the Movistar Team riders in the 76th edition of Gent-Wevelgem, the second classic of the WorldTour calendar in Belgium, over 233km suited for sprinters despite its ten ‘hellingen’, including the double passage through the Monteberg and the cobbles of the Kemmelberg. Just as happened in 2013, Andrey Amador took a shot at the front against the best specialists, leaving the main field with 20k remaining alongside Stijn Devolder (TFR) and Silvan Dillier (BMC). Though the attempt gained a 40-second gap, the pace by Lotto, OPQS and Giant behind ruined the Costa Rican’s hopes, reeled in with 800m from the finish after a final, late, solo move. John Degenkolb (GIA) led the way home as Juanjo Lobato, out of balance after a puncture into the final 15k, couldn’t contest the sprint.
“It was a hard race, nerves out from early, but I could give it a try at the end,” explained Amador to portal Cobbles and Hills. “Even though those final kilometers always end up taking the best of me, the attempt is what really matters – it will pay off someday. I haven’t been really lucky in this year’s classics: I crashed two weeks ago and suffered another incident in Harelbeke, but despite things not going how I liked them, I’m feeling well and day by day I can show it. Sunday’s race will be a hard one, a goal all classics riders tackle, but we will give our 100%.”
The day’s negative news came in the form of multiple crashes for the Blues. Apart from Dowsett and Sütterlin, who were left dropped by a pile-up with just over 40km from the finish, Fran Ventoso was forced to give up with eighty kilometers remaining after riding over a bottle and losing control of his bike. Full of pain and bruises all over his body, the Spaniard was immediately moved to the Ypres hospital, where preliminary medical checks ruled out any fractures.