Mads Pedersen punches the air in celebration having beaten Mathieu van der Poel in the sprint for Gent-Wevelgem 2024 victory.

Men’s Gent-Wevelgem report: Pedersen has stamina on his side in duel with Van der Poel

Too little, too late for the sturdy peloton whose chase came up short as Mads Pedersen doubles up.

Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) beats Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) to win Gent-Wevelgem 2024. Photo: © Cor Vos

Kit Nicholson
by Kit Nicholson 24.03.2024 Photography by
Cor Vos
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Some races earn their hyperbolic language, and Gent-Wevelgem is one of them. While the weather wasn’t as gritty as anticipated, the wind certainly had its say, and with Mathieu van der Poel eager to add a history-making win to Friday’s E3 Saxo Classic title, it was race of attrition over the Flandrian plugstreets (gravel/grit) and cobbled climbs.

As was almost inevitable, Van der Poel was one of the first to set off fireworks with a decisive acceleration on the Kemmelberg, which split up the race and formed a select lead group. Lidl-Trek’s strength in numbers helped to reduce the leaders to a trio of Mads Pedersen, Van der Poel and Groupama-FDJ’s superb youngster Laurence Pithie. The 21-year-old Kiwi was dropped on the final climb of the Kemmelberg – the tougher Ossuaire side – and though there was a determined chase, Pedersen and Van der Poel stayed clear to the finish, and the Dane was able to outlast the world champion in the sprint.

World champion Mathieu van der Poel leads the front group during Gent-Wevelgem 2024.
Debutant Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ; second in from the left) was in spectacular company in the select group forged by Van der Poel’s decisive acceleration.

Brief results:

Quote of the day:

“I had to believe in my sprint because we couldn’t start to attack each other [or] the bunch would pick us up. So, I had to believe that the sprint was good enough to beat Mathieu. And with the shape he showed lately, it was hard to believe.

Mads Pedersen after winning Gent-Wevelgem
Mads Pedersen, Mathieu van der Poel and Laurence Pithie climb the Kemmelberg during Gent-Wevelgem 2024.
Raise a glass to young master Pithie.

Brief analysis:

Mads Pedersen and Mathieu van der Poel mid-sprint at Gent-Wevelgem 2024.
Pedersen and Van der Poel deep in the sprint for the line, moments before the world champion would succumb to fatigue and sag onto his saddle, leaving Pedersen to power to victory.

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