In 2005, Nico Mattan grabbed victory in one of the most controversial editions of Gent - Wevelgem ever held. The newspapers ran and ran with it, but Sean Kelly saw, "no problems" with the result. Ed Hood caught-up with the charismatic Belgian to hear Mattan's version of that still-debated day.
Wevelgem Race Preview: At last the peloton is in Belgium for the first of the big Northern Classics on Sunday - Gent-Wevelgem. Yes, there was Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and Het Nieuwsblad, but that was just the foreplay to the main act. Ed Hood takes us from Gent over the cobbles, plugstreets and the bergs to Wevelgem.
Gent-Wevelgem is a hard race to love. It’s in a state of constant change, searching for an identity as the ugly West Flandrian sister of the cobbled monuments. PEZ met the locals at the De Robot Cafe in Gent for some insights to a race that's taken 82 years to find itself.
Race Preview: Saturday sees the WorldTour peloton move from climbs of Milan-Sanremo in Northern Italy to the cobbles of Belgium and Gent-Wevelgem. Our Classics expert, Ed Hood, has run his keen eye over the course for the windy Classic and gives us his choice of eleven possible victors.
The cobble season is upon us, this is the time of year to be in Belgium or better; Flanders. On Sunday Gent-Wevelgem heads out of Deinze for a ride to the coast and back via France, followed by a succession of gruesome cobbled climbs before the finish. Bad weather and hard riders make for a real Classic, here is the PEZ Preview.
Combining Belgian cobblestones with short steep climbs can mean only one thing in pro cycling... you're in Belgium and it's time for the Spring Classics. Steeped in the history of bloody battles from WWI, cycling each of the legendary climbs throws up the combat of a much more peaceful kind, but with an emotional connection to a past we're cautioned to never forget. PEZ's Gord Cameron returned to the famous Kemmelberg to face some past demons and square up some unfinished business.
Pro Analysis: What can we learn as we approach the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix from the cobbled races run so far? After Gent-Wevelgem Lee Rodgers analyzes the big guns' form and ponders the question, could a domestique win in Flanders? And could you really call a two time winner of the Ronde a domestique?