Sam Bennett will be back in action, four days after winning Classic Brugge-De Panne.

One of the most spectacular and prestigious races of the calendar, Gent-Wevelgem will run this Sunday its 83rd edition, over a 253.9km parcours featuring eleven climbs – including three ascents of the iconic Kemmelberg, where the race is expected to break – and the now famous plugstreets, the gravel roads which can split the bunch before the final hills. The last of the three visits up the Kemmelberg comes inside the final 40 kilometers, and although it’s all flat from the top until the finish, the attackers have a chance of holding off the attempts of those hoping to bring it back in order to have a bunch sprint.

For Sam Bennett, Sunday will mark his first appearance in four years at Gent-Wevelgem, where the Irishman will come with his confidence buoyed by the dominant victory he got midweek at Classic Brugge-De Panne, where he rode everyone off his wheel and finally fulfilled his dream of conquering a World Tour one-day race. With five wins to his name this season, Sam will be one of the riders to watch if it comes down to a bunch gallop, a scenario that has happened quite often in the past decade.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step will go to the start in Ieper with a strong squad containing riders capable of supporting Bennett, but also of getting into the mix, depending on how the race pans out. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Davide Ballerini, Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv, Stijn Steels, Zdenek Stybar – whose contribution was vital to the team’s unforgettable day at E3 Harelbeke – and Bert Van Lerberghe will all be part of our seven-man squad.

“Gent-Wevelgem is a great race, always entertaining, with plenty of action long before the finish. We could have echelons this year, which will make for a very nervous race, but we are very confident, especially after our win on Friday. Bennett can feature in the finale and fight for a good result, but we have more than one card to play on Sunday, depending on what happens on the Kemmelberg”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Wilfried Peeters.

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