Gent-Wevelgem 2014: preview

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Gent-Wevelgem 2014: preview

A consideration of the course and contenders for the 76th 'sprinter's classic'

Geraint Thomas

Once an enfant terrible, a rider of seemingly boundless potential, Geraint Thomas,  Team Sky’s first choice as protected rider for the cobbled Classcis in recent years, is facing a season which, if not quite make or break, is one in which he must deliver or let someone else have a turn as protected rider, notably Ian Stannard, winner at the Omloop Het Niewsblad.

After years of promise and near-misses, is 2014 the season that Geraint Thomas must deliver victory if he is to remain Team Sky’s leader for the cobbled Classics? (pic: Sirotti)

The Classics have proved a tough nut to crack for Team Sky, tougher perhaps than they imagined. An assessment of Thomas’ most recent form would suggest that he has the legs for Wevelgem. Third at E3 Harelbeke, a position achieved with the strength to respond to the numerous attacks of Omega Pharma-Quickstep duo, Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenberg, gave every indication of a rider in peak form. What he has lacked in the past is fortune: his Classics campaign last season was marred by a series of crashes.

If Thomas can remain master of his own destiny, he has every chance of victory. His natural abilities as a climber and a fast finisher make him a strong candidate for success at a race like Wevelgem. A Classics victory for Team Sky had begun to take on the aspect of lost cause, but a victory and two podium finishes so far in the one-day races of spring will have given Dave Brailsford’s men renewed hope. A victory for Thomas at Wevelgem would be by far their most significant result.

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