CANYON//SRAM Racing will race Gent Wevelgem on Sunday 25 March with a roster of Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Elena Cecchini, Lisa Klein, Alexis Ryan and Trixi Worrack. The race from Ieper to Wevelgem in Belgium is the fifth race on the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar.
“It’s always one week out from Ronde van Vlaanderen and many riders will be using this race as part of their final preparations for the first Sunday in April. Gent Wevelgem I would say is the “easier” of the spring classics where either the wind or the Kemmelberg climb are the two hardest parts of the race,” said Cecchini.
After the second of two ascents of the cobbled Kemmelberg climb, the peloton then has just under 40km to the finish line. In the past the race has been won in various fashions including solo victories, from a small group or in a bunch sprint.
While Cecchini believes her role will be more as domestique for Gent Wevelgem, her teammate Hannah Barnes admits it’s one of her main target races for 2018.
In 2012 it was the first race the British rider finished at the elite level. Fast-forward six years and Barnes aims to win.
“In 2012 it was my first race that I finished as a senior and I came 96th,” joked Barnes.“It’s a nice memory for me because I was 19 years old and for me at that time it was a big goal to finish a race. It was a huge achievement for me!”
“Last year was the second time I’ve raced it. I went in to the race quite strong and I really enjoyed the race and I performed well. I’ve got a lot of family and friends coming from the UK to watch on Sunday, I think it’s a race that suits me well. I’d like to win Gent Wevelgem,” announced Barnes.
With the likes of in-form Alexis Ryan and Lisa Klein as teammates, Barnes said the team has a formidable list of riders signing on for the classic.
“We’re going with a strong team and I’m hoping that we can go there, be the strongest team, be aggressive and win.”
The race starts at 10:25 CET and can be followed on Twitter with #UCIWWT and #GWE18. It will be broadcast live on Sporza and Eurosport Player from 13:30 CET.