After heading to E3 Harelbeke with my camera the previous Friday, Hannah and I went along to Gent – Wevelgem (both the Men’s and Women’s races) on Sunday with my press pass in tow. We didn’t go to the start this time around, but instead took up station on the Kemmelberg. The Kemmelberg is known as a fearsome hill to cycle up – the pros took two ways up it, both cobbled and both brutal.
The Kemmelberg is also the site of a fierce World War 1 battle – the 4th Battle of Ypres. The French memorial at the summit and the mass grave of 5,000 French soldiers (of which only 57 could be identified) is at the foot of the cobbled climb – this gives the climb some poignancy.
A large screen had been set up nearby so it was possible to watch the conclusion of the Women’s race after they’d gone past on the Belvedere climb. Ale’s Marta Bastianelli won that race. The men came up the same climb a while afterwards before coming up the Ossuary (the mass grave) side before the final run back into Wevelgem for their race. As I predicted, Peter Sagan won the race.