On to Gent Wevelgem: Easter Sunday up and down the Kemmelberg

Nico 'Rambo' Eeckhout,
a Flandrien stance down the Kemmelberg
photo: Yuzuru Sunada

I'm eager to watch Easter Sunday's Gent Wevelgem for it's new ride up the iconic Kemmelberg climb. It will probably be the decisive point of the race for the win. The riders will take on the steeper side of the Kemmelberg with a whopping maximum gradient of 23%. Of course, what goes up must come down. The image above is Nico 'Rambo' Eeckhout getting set and bravely holding on as he stares at the 23% downhill grade from the 2004 edition. Note the leg out and both hands on the brakes to give him balance on the slick cobblestones. Going up is considered to be toughest climb in Flanders. That's where the punchers and rouleurs can have the advantage. Then there will be 34km of mostly flat racing left to race, and the sprinters (if there is any remaining) can threaten for the win. 

Start list.

My picks: 1. Alexander Kristoff 2. Peter Sagan 3. Fernando Gavira

others that have a damn good chance to win: Sep Vanmarcke, Fabian Cancellara, Andre Greipel, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Greg Van Avermaet, Zdenek Stybar, Tiesj Bennot